THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
. OF CALIF. LIBRARY. LOS ANGELES
By LOUIS TRACY
THE WINGS OF THE MORNING
THE CAPTAIN OF THE KANSAS
THE WHEEL 0' FORTUNE
A SON OF THE IMMORTALS
THE PILLAR OF LIGHT
THE SILENT BARRIER
THE " MIND THE PAINT " GIRL
ONE WONDERFUL NIGHT
THE TERMS OF SURRENDER
FLOWER OF THE GORSE
THE RED YEAR
THE GREAT MOGUL
THE DAY OF WRATH
HIS UNKNOWN WIFE
THE POSTMASTER'S DAUGHTER
DIANA OF THE MOORLAND
THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
" The Wings of the Morning," " Number Seventeen,"
EDWARD J. CLODE
COPYRIGHT, 1919, BT
EDWARD J. CLODE
All riglitb reserved
PRINTED TK THE UNITED STATES OP AMERICA
I. A GATHERING AT A CLUB . . 1
II. A DARING CRIME .... 12
III. WINIFRED BARTLETT HEARS SOME-
IV. FURTHER SURPRISES ... 39
V. PERSECUTORS 54
VI. BROTHER RALPH .... 67
VII. STILL MERE MYSTERY ... 81
VIII. THE DREAM FACE .... 92
IX. THE FLIGHT 102
X. CARSHAW TAKES UP THE CHASE 115
XI. THE Two CARS .... 128
XII. THE PURSUIT . . . . . 140
XIII. THE NEW LINK .... 150
XIV. A SUBTLE ATTACK .... 162
XV. THE VISITOR 173
XVI. WINIFRED DRIFTS .... 181
XVII. ALL ROADS LEAD TO EAST ORANGE 191
XVIII. THE CRASH 201
XIX. CLANCY EXPLAINS .... 214
XX. IN THE TOILS 225
XXI. MOTHER AND SON .... 235
XXII. THE HUNT 245
XXIII. "HE WHO FIGHTS AND RUNS
AWAY" . ,. . ... . 257
XXIV. IN FULL GEY . ,. , , . 269
XXV. FLANK ATTACKS . . . . 280
XXVT. THE BITER BIT . ,.- ,., ,. 293
XXVII. THE SETTLEMENT . 304
THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
A GATHERING AT A CLUB
THAT story of love and crime which fig-
ures in the records of the New York
Detective Bureau as "The Yacht Mys-
tery" has little to do with yachts and is no
longer a mystery. It is concerned far more
intimately with the .troubles and trials of
pretty Winifred Bartlett than with the vaga-
ries of the restless sea ; the alert, well-groomed
figure of Winifred's true lover, Rex Carshaw,
fills its pages to the almost total exclusion of
the portly millionaire who owned the Sans
Souci. Yet, such is the singular dominance
exercised by the trivial things of life over the
truly important ones, some hundreds of thou-
sands of people in the great city on the three
rivers will recall many episodes of the nine
days' wonder known to them as "The Yacht
Mystery" though they may never have heard
of either Winifred or Rex.
It began simply, as all major events do begin,
2 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
and, of course, at the outset, neither, of these
two young people seemed to have the remotest
connection with it.
On the evening of October 5, 1913 that is
the date when the first entry appears in the
diary of Mr. James Steingall, chief of the
Bureau the stream of traffic in Fifth Avenue
was interrupted to an unusual degree at a
corner near Forty-second Street. The home-
ward-bound throng going up-town and the
equally dense crowd coming down-town to
restaurants and theater-land merely chafed at
a delay which they did not understand, but the
traffic policeman knew exactly what was going
on, and kept his head and his temper.
A few doors down the north side of the cross
street a famous club was ablaze with lights.
Especially did three great windows on the
first floor send forth hospitable beams, for the
spacious room within was the scene of an amus-
ing revel. Mr. William Pierpont Van Hofen,
ex-commodore of the New York Yacht Club,
owner of the Sans Souci, and multi-millionaire,
had just astonished his friends by one of the
eccentric jests for which he was famous.
The Sans Souci, notable the world over for
its size, speed, and fittings, was going out of
commission for the winter. Van Hofen had
marked the occasion by widespread invitations
to a dinner at his club, "to be followed by a
'A GATHERING AT A CLUB 3
surprise party," and the 'nature of the "sur-
prise" was becoming known. Each lady had
drawn by lot the name of her dinner partner,
and each couple was then presented with a
sealed envelope containing tickets for one or
other of the many theaters in New York. Thus,
not only were husbands, wives, eligible bache-
lors, and smart debutantes inextricably mixed
up, but none knew whither the oddly assorted
pairs were bound, since the envelopes were not
to be opened until the meal reached the coffee
and cigarette stage.
There existed, too, a secret within a secret.
Seven men were bidden privately to come on
board the Sans Souci, moored in the Hudson
off the Eighty-sixth Street landing-stage,
and there enjoy a quiet session of auction
""We'll duck before the trouble gets fairly
started," explained Van Hofen to his cronies.
"You'll see how the bunch is sorted out at
dinner, but the tangle then will be just one cent
in the dollar to the pandemonium when they
find out where they're going."
Of course, everybody was acquainted with
everybody else, or the joke might have been
in bad taste. Moreover, as the gathering was
confined exclusively to the elect of New York
society, the host had notified the Detective
Bureau, and requested the presence of one of
'4 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
their best men outside the club shortly before
eight o'clock. None realized better than he
that where the carcass is there the vultures
gather, and he wanted no untoward incident to
happen during the confusion which must attend
the departure of so many richly bejeweled
ladies accompanied by unexpected cavaliers.
Thus it befell that Detective-Inspector
Clancy was detailed for the job. Steingall
and he were the " inseparables" of the Bureau,
yet no two members of a marvelously efficient
service were more unlike, physically and men-
tally. Steingall was big, blond, muscular, a
genial giant whose qualities rendered him
almost popular among the very criminals he
hunted, whereas those same desperadoes feared
the diminutive Clancy, the little, slight, dark-
haired sleuth of French-Irish descent. He,
they were aware instinctively, read their very
souls before Steingall 's huge paw clutched their
Idle chance alone decided that Clancy should
undertake the half -hour's vigil at the up-town
club that evening. All unknowing, he became
thereby the controlling influence in many lives.
At eight o'clock an elderly man emerged
from the building and edged his way through
the cheery, laughing people already grouped
about the doorway and awaiting automobiles.
Mr. William Meiklejohn might have been
'A GATHERING AT A CLUB 5
branded with the word "Senator," so typical
was he of the upper house at Washington. The
very cut of his clothes, the style of his shoes,
the glossiness of his hat, even the wide expanse
of pearl-studded white linen marked him as a
person of consequence.
A uniformed policeman, striving to keep the
pavement clear of loiterers, recognized and
saluted him. The salute was returned, though
its recipient's face seemed to be gloomy, pre-
occupied, almost disturbed. Therefore he did
not notice a gaunt, angular-jawed woman one
whose carriage and attire suggested better
days long since passed who had been peering
eagerly at the revellers pouring out of the club,
and now stepped forward impetuously as if to
She failed. The policeman barred her prog-
ress quietly but effectually, and the woman, if
bent on achieving her purpose, must have either
called after the absorbed Meiklejohn or entered
into a heated altercation with the policeman
when accident came to her aid.
Mrs. Eonald Tower, strikingly handsome,
richly gowned and cloaked, with an elaborate
coiffure that outvied nature's best efforts, was
crossing the pavement to enter a waiting car
when she stopped and drew her hand from her
"Senator Meiklejohn!" she cried.
6 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
The elderly man halted. He doffed his hat
with a flourish.
"Ah, Helen," he said smilingly. " Whither
"To see Belasco's latest. Isn't that lucky?
The very thing I wanted. Poor Ronald! . I
don't know what has become of him, or into
what net he may have fallen."
The Senator beamed. He knew that Ronald
Tower was one of the eight bridge-players, but
was pledged to secrecy.
"I only hailed you to jog your memory about
that luncheon to-morrow," went on Mrs. Tower.
"How could I forget!" he retorted gallantly.
"Only two hours ago I postponed a business
appointment on account of it."
"So good of you, Senator," and Mrs. Tower's
smile lent a tinge of sarcasm to the words.
"I'm awfully anxious that you should meet Mr.
Jacob. I'm deeply interested, you know."
Meiklejohn glanced rather sharply at the
lady's companion, who, however, was merely
a vacuous man about town. It struck Clancy
that the Senator resented this incautious using
of names. The shabby-genteel woman, hover-
ing behind the policeman, was following the
scene with hawklike eyes, and Clancy kept her,
too, under close observation.
The Senator coughed, and lowered his voice.
"I shall be most pleased to discuss matters
A GATHERING AT A CLUB 7
with him," he said. "It will be a pleasure to
render him a service if you ask it."
Mrs. Tower laughed lightly. "One o'clock,"
she said. "Don't be late! Come along, Mr.
Forrest. Your car is blocking the way."
Mr. Meiklejohn flourished his hat again. He
turned and found himself face to face with the
hard-featured woman who had been waiting
and watching for this very opportunity. She
barred his further progress even caught his
Had the Senator been assaulted by the blue-
coated guardian of law and order he could not
have displayed more bewilderment.
"You, Kachel!" he gasped.
The policeman was about to intervene, but it
was the Senator, not the shabbily dressed
woman, who prevented him.
"It's all right, officer," he stammered
vexedty. "I know this lady. She is an old
The man saluted again and drew aside.
Clancy moved a trifle nearer. No one would
take notice of such an insignificant little man.
Though he had his back to this strangely as-
sorted pair, he heard nearly every syllable they
"He is here," snapped the woman without
other preamble. "You must see him."
"It is quite impossible," was the answer,
8 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
and, though the words were frigid and unyield-
ing, Clancy felt certain that Senator Meiklejohn
had to exercise an iron self-control to keep a
tremor out of his utterance.
"You dare not refuse," persisted the woman.
The Senator glanced around in a scared way.
Clancy thought for an instant that he meant to
dart back into the security of the cluh. After
an irresolute pause, however, he moved some-
what apart from the crowd of sightseers. The
two stood together on the curb, and clear of the
flood of light pouring through the open doors.
Clancy edged after them. He gathered a good
deal, not all, of what they said, as both voices
were harsh and tinged with excitement.
"This very night," the woman was saying.
"Bring at least five hundred dollars If
the police ... Says he will confess every-
thing . . . Do you get me? This thing can't
The Senator did not even try now to conceal
his agitation. He looked at the gaping mob,
but it was wholly absorbed in the stream of
fashionable people pouring out of the club,
while the snorting of scores of automo-
biles created a din which meant comparative
"Yes, yes," he muttered. "I understand.
I'll do anything in reason. I'll give you the
money, and you "
r A GATHERING AT, A CLUB 9
"No. He means seeing you. You need not
be afraid. He says you are going to Mr. Van
Hofen's yacht at nine o'clock
"Good Lord!" broke in Meiklejohn, "how
can he possibly know that?" Again he peered
at the press of onlookers. A dapper little man
who stood near was raised on tiptoe and cran-
ing his neck to catch a glimpse of a noted
beauty who had just appeared.
"Oh, pull yourself together!" and there was
a touch of scorn in the woman's manner as she
reassured this powerfully built man. "Isn't
he clever and fertile in device? Haven't the
newspapers announced your presence on the
Sans Souci? And who will stop a steward's
tongue from wagging? At any rate, he knows.
He will be on the Hudson in a small boat, with
one other man. At nine o'clock he will come
close to the landing-stage at Eighty-sixth
Street. There is a lawn north of the clubhouse,
he says. Walk to the end of it and you will
find him. You can have a brief talk. Bring the
money in an envelope."
"On the lawn at nine!" repeated the Sen-
ator in a dazed way.
"Yes. What better place could he choose?
You see, he is willing to play fair and be dis-
creet. But, quick ! I must have your answer.
Time is passing. Do you agree?"
"What is the alternative?"
10 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
11 Capture, and a mad rage. Then others will
share in his downfall."
"Very well. I'll be there. I'll not fail him,
"He says it's his last request. He has some
"Ah, his schemes! If only I could hope that
this will be the end!"
"That is his promise."
The woman dropped the conversation
abruptly. She darted through the line of
cars and made off in the direction of Sixth
Avenue. Senator Meiklejohn gazed after her
dubiously, but her tall figure was soon lost in
the traffic. Then, with bent head, and evidently
a prey to harassing thoughts, he crossed Fifth
Clancy sauntered after him, and saw him
enter a block of residential flats in a side street.
Then the detective strolled back to the club.
Most of Van Hofen's guests had gone. The
policeman grinned and muttered in Clancy's
"The Senator's a giddy guy. Two of 'em at
wanst. Mrs. Tower's a good-looker, but I
didn't think much of the other wan."
Clancy nodded. His black and beady eyes
had just clashed with those of a notorious
crook, who suddenly remembered an urgent ap-
A GATHERING AT A CLUB. 11
Fifteen minutes later Senator Meiklejohn
returned. He entered the club without being
waylaid a second time. Clancy consulted his
4 'Keep a sharp lookout here, Mac," he said,
sotto voce. " While I was away just now
Broadway Jim showed up. He's got cold feet,
and there'll be nothing more doing to-night, I
think. Anyhow, I'm going up-town."
In Fifth Avenue he boarded a Riverside
Drive bus. The weather was mild, and he
mounted to the roof.
"Now, who in the world will Senator Meikle-
john meet on the landing-stage?" he mused.
"Seems to me the chief may be interested.
Five hundred dollars, too ! I wonder !"
A DABING CEIME
IT was no part of Detective Clancy's busi-
ness to pry into the private affairs of Senator
Meiklejohn. Senators are awkward fish to
handle, being somewhat similar to whales
caught in nets designed to capture mackerel.
But the Bureau is no respecter of persons.
Men much higher up in politics and finance
than William Meiklejohn would be disagree-
ably surprised if they could read certain de-
tails entered opposite their names in the dos-
siers kept by the police department. Still, it
behooved Clancy to tread warily.
As it happened, he was just the man for this
self-imposed duty. Two Celtic strains mingled
in his blood, while American birth and train-
ing had not only quickened his intelligence but
imparted a quality of wide-eyed shrewdness to
a daring initiative. When he and the bluff
Steingall worked together the malefactor on
whose heels they pressed had a woeful time.
As one blood-stained rascal put it in a bitter
moment before the electric chair claimed him
r A DARING CRIME, 13
for the expiation of his last and worst crime :
''Them two guys give a reg'lar fellow no
chanst. When they're trailin' you every road
leads straight to Sing Sing. The big guy has
a punch like Jess Willard, an' the lil 'un a
nose like a Montana wolf."
It was Clancy's nose for the more subtle
elements in crime which brought him to the
small chalet on the private pier at the foot of
Eighty-sixth Street that night. He could not
guess what game he might flush, but he was *
keen as a bloodhound in the chase.
Meanwhile, Senator Meiklejohn encountered
Ronald Tower the moment he re-entered the
palatial club. By this time he seemed to have
regained his customary air of geniality, being
one of those rather uncommon men whose ap-
parent characteristics are never so marked as
when they are acting a part.
"H'lo, Ronnie, " he cried affably, "I met
Helen as she left for the theater. She has
an inquiring mind, but I headed her off. By
the way, will you be at this luncheon to-
"Not I," laughed Tower. "I'm barred.
She says I have no head for business, and
some deep-laid plan for filling the family
coffers is in hand."
The Senator obviously disliked these out-
spoken references to money-making. He
14 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
squirmed, but smiled as though Tower had
made an excellent joke.
"Try and get the ukase lifted," he urged.
"I want you to be there."
"Nothing doing," and the other grinned.
"Helen says I resemble you in everything but
brain power, Senator. I'm a good-looker as a
husband, but a poor mutt in Wall Street."
They laughed at the conceit. The two men
were curiously alike in face and figure, though
a close observer like Clancy would have
classed them as opposite as the poles in char-
acter and temperament. Meiklejohn's features
were cast in the stronger mold. They showed
lines which Ronald Tower's placid existence
would never produce. The Senator was suave,
too. He seldom pressed a point to the limit.
"Helen's good opinion is doubly flattering,"
he said. "She is a bright woman, and knows
how to command her friends."
Tower glanced at a clock in the hall.
"Time we were off," he announced. "Come
with me. I'm taking Johnny Bell, I think."
"Sorry. I have an important letter to
write. But I'll join before the crowd cuts in."
The Senator hurried up-stairs. He must
take the journey alone, and snatch an oppor-
tunity to attend that mysterious rendezvous
while the Sans Souci's gig was ferrying some
of the bridge-players to the yacht.
A DARING CRIME 15
Owing to a slight misunderstanding Tower
missed the other man, and traveled alone in
his car. On that trivial circumstance hinged
events which not only affected many lives but
disturbed New York society more than any
other incident within a decade.
Few among the thousands of summer prom-
enaders who enjoy the magnificent panorama of
the North River from the wooded heights of
the Drive know of the pier at Eighty-sixth
Street. For one thing, the clubhouse itself is an
unpretentious structure; for another, the nar-
row and winding stairway leading down the side
of the cliff gives no indication of its specific
purpose. Moreover, a light foot-bridge across
the tracks is hardly noticeable through the
screen of trees and shrubs above, and the
water-front lies yet fifty yards farther on.
At night the approach is not well lighted.
In fact, no portion of the beautiful and pre-
cipitous riparian park is more secluded than
the short stretch between the landing-stage
and the busy thoroughfare on the crest.
That evening, as has been seen, Mr. Van
Hofen was taking no risks for himself or his
guests. A patrolman from the local precinct
was stationed at the iron-barred gate on the
landward end of the foot-bridge.
Clancy, on descending from the bus, stood
for a few seconds and surveyed the scene. The
16 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
night was dark and the sky overcast, but the
myriad lights on the New Jersey shore were
reflected in the swift current of the Hudson.
The superb Sans Souci was easily distinguish-
able. All her ports were a-glow; lamps twin-
kled beneath the awnings on her after deck,
and a boarding light indicated the lowered
The yacht was moored about three hundred
feet from the landing-stage. Her graceful out-
lines were clearly discernible against the black,
moving plain of the river. Just in that spot
shone her radiance, lending a sense of opu-
lence and security. For the rest, that part of
New York's great waterway was dim and
Try as he might, the detective could see no
small craft afloat. The yacht's gig, waiting
at the clubhouse, was hidden from view. He
sped rapidly down the steps, and found the
"That you, Nolan?" he said.
The man peered at him.
"Oh, Mr. Clancy, is it?" he replied.
"You know Senator Meiklejohn by sight!"
"Sure I do."
"When he comes along hail him. Say 'Good
evening, Senator.' I'll hear you."
Clancy promptly moved off along the path
which runs parallel with the railway. Nolan,
2 DARING CRIME 17
though puzzled, put no questions, being well
aware he would be told nothing more.
Three gentlemen came down the cliff, and
crossed the bridge. One was Van Hofen him-
self. Now, the fates had willed that Ronald
Tower should come next, and alone. He was
hurrying. He had seen figures entering the
club, and wanted to join them in the gig.
The policeman made the same mistake as
"Good evening Senator," he said.
Tower nodded and laughed. He had no
time to correct the harmless blunder. Even
so, he was too late for the boat, which was
already well away from the stage when he
reached it. He lighted a cigarette, and strolled
along the narrow terrace between river and
Clancy, on receiving his cue, followed Tower.
An attendant challenged him at the iron gate,
but Nolan certified that this diminutive stranger
was "all right."
It was on the tip of the dectective's tongue
to ask if Mr. Meiklejohn had gone into the
clubhouse when he saw, as he imagined, the
Senator's tall form silhouetted against the
vague carpet of the river; so he passed on,
and this minor incident contributed its quota
to a tragic occurrence. He heard some one
behind him on the bridge, but paid no heed,
18 TEE BARTLETT MYSTERY
his wits being bent on noting anything that
took place in the semi-obscurity of the river's
Meanwhile, the patrolman, encountering a
double of Senator Meiklejohn, was dumb-
founded momentarily. He sought enlighten-
ment from the attendant.
" An', for the love of Mike, who was the
first wan!" he demanded, when assured that
the latest arrival was really the Senator.
"Mr. Ronald Tower," said the man.
"They're like as two peas in a pod, ain't
Nolan muttered something. He, too, crossed
the bridge, meaning to find Clancy and explain
his error. Thus, the four men were not widely
separated, but Tower led by half a minute
long enough, in fact, to be at the north end of
the terrace before Meiklejohn passed the
There, greatly to his surprise, he looked
down into a small motor-boat, with two occu-
pants, keeping close to the sloping wall. The
craft and its crew could have no reasonable
business there. They suggested something
sinister and furtive. The engine was stopped,
and one of the men, huddled up in the bows,
was holding the boat against the pull of the
tide by using a boathook as a punting pole.
Tower, though good-natured and unsuspi-
A DARING CRIME 19
cious, was naturally puzzled by this appari-
tion. He bent forward to examine it more def-
initely, and rested his hands on a low railing.
Then he was seen by those below.
"That you?" growled the second man,
standing up suddenly.
"It is," said Tower, speaking with strict
accuracy, and marveling now who on earth
could have arranged a meeting at such a place
and in such bizarre conditions.
"Well, here I am," came the gruff an-
nouncement. "The cops are after me. Some
one must have tipped them off. If it was you
I'll get to know and even things up, P. D. Q.
Chew on that during the night's festivities, I
advise "you. Brought that w r ad?"
Tower was the last man breathing to handle
this queer situation discreetly. He ought to
have temporized, but he loathed anything in
the nature of vulgar or criminal intrigue. Be-
ing quick-tempered withal, if deliberately in-
sulted, he resented this fellow's crude speech.
"No," he cried hotly. "What you really
want is a policeman, and there's one close at
hand Hi! Officer!" he shouted: "Come
here at once. There are two rascals in a
Something swirled through the darkness,
and his next word was choked in a cry of
mortal fear, for a lasso had fallen on his
20 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
shoulders and was drawn taut. Before he
could as much as lift his hands he was dragged
bodily over the railing and headlong into the
Clancy, forced by circumstances to remain
at a distance, could only overhear Tower's
share in the brief conversation. The tones in
the voice perplexed him, but the preconcerted
element in the affair seemed to offer proof
positive that Senator Meiklejohn had kept his
appointment. He was just in time to see Tow-
er's legs disappearing, and a loud splash told
what had happened. He was not armed. He
never carried a revolver unless the quest of
the hour threatened danger or called for a
display of force. In a word, he was utterly
Senator Meiklejohn, alive to the vital fact
that some one on the terrace had discovered
the boat, hung back dismayed. He was joined
by Nolan, who could not understand the sud-
"What's up?" Nolan asked. " Didn't some
Clancy, in all his experience of crime and
criminals, had never before encountered such
an amazing combination of unforeseen condi-
tions. The boat's motor was already chugging
breathlessly, and the small craft was curving
out into the gloom. He saw a man hauling in
A DARING CRIME 21
a rope from the stern, and well did he know
why the cord seemed to be attached to a heavy
weight. Not far away he made out the yacht's
gig returning to the stage.
"Sans Souci ahoy!" he almost screamed.
"Head off that launch! There's murder
It was a hopeless effort, of course, though
the sailors obeyed instantly, and bent to their
oars. Soon they, too, vanished in the murk,
but, finding they were completely outpaced,
came back seeking for instructions which could
not be given. The detective thought he was
bewitched when he ran into Senator Meikle-
john, pallid and trembling, standing on the ter-
race with Nolan.
"You?" he shrieked in a shrill falselto.
"Then, in heaven's name, who is the man who
has just been pulled into the river ? ' '
"Tower!" gasped the Senator. "Mr. Ronald
Tower. They mistook him for me."
"Faith, an' I did that same," muttered the
patrolman, whose slow-moving wits could as-
similate only one thing at a time.
Clancy, afire with rage and a sense of inex-
plicable failure, realized that Meikle John's ad-
mission and its ROW compulsory explanation
could wait a calmer moment. The club attend-
ant, attracted by the hubbub, raced to the lawn,
and the detective tackled him.
22 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
"Isn't there a motor launch on the yacht!"
"Yes, sir, but it'll be all sheeted up on deck."
"Have you a megaphone?"
The man ran and grabbed the instrument
from its hook, so Clancy bellowed the alarm-
ing news to Mr. Van Hofen and the others
already on board the Sans Souci that Eonald
Tower had been dragged into the river and
probably murdered. But what could they do!
The speedy rescue of Tower, dead or alive,
was simply impossible.
The gig arrived. Clancy stormed by tele-
phone at a police station-house and at the up-
river station of the harbor police, but such
vain efforts were the mere necessities of offi-
cialdom. None knew better than he that an
extraordinary crime had been carried through
under his very eyes, yet its daring perpetra-
tors had escaped, and he could supply no de-
scription of their appearance to the men who
would watch the neighboring ferries and
Van Hofen and his friends, startled and
grieved, came ashore in the gig, and Clancy
was striving to give them some account of the
tragedy without revealing its inner signifi-
cance when his roving glance missed Meikle-
john from the distraught group of men.
A DARING CRIME 23
"Where is the Senator?" he cried, turning
on the gaping' Nolan.
"Gee, he's knocked out," said the police-
man. "He axed me to tell you he'd gone
down-town. Ye see, some wan has to find Mrs.
Clancy's black eyes glittered with fury, yet
he spoke no word. A blank silence fell on
the rest. They had not thought of the be-
reaved wife, but Meiklejohn had remembered.
That was kind of him. The Senator always
did the right thing. And how he must be suf-
fering! The Towers were his closest friends!
WINIFRED BABTLETT HEARS SOMETHING
EARLY next morning a girl attired in a neat
but inexpensive costume entered Central Park
by the One Hundred and Second Street gate,
and walked swiftly by a winding path to the
exit on the west side at One Hundredth Street.
She moved with the easy swing of one to
whom walking was a pleasure. Without hurry
or apparent effort her even, rapid strides
brought her along at a pace of fully four miles
an hour. And an hour was exactly the time
Winifred Bartlett needed if she would carry
out her daily program, which, when conditions
permitted, involved a four-mile detour by way
of Riverside Drive and Seventy-Second Street
to the Ninth Avenue "L." This morning she
had actually ten minutes in hand, and prom-
ised herself an added treat in making little
pauses at her favorite view-points on the Hud-
To gain this hour's freedom Winifred had
to practise some harmless duplicity, as shall
be seen. She was obliged to rise long before
the rest of her fellow-workers in the bookbind-;
WINIFRED HEARS SOMETHING 25
ing factory of Messrs. Brown, Son & Brown,
an establishment located in the least inviting
part of Greenwich Village.
But she went early to bed, and the beams of
the morning sun drew her forth as a linnet from
its nest. Unless the weather was absolutely
prohibitive she took the walk every day, for
she revelled in the ever-changing tints of the
trees, the music of the songbirds, and the gam-
bols of the squirrels in the park, while the
broad highway of the river, leading to and
from she hardly knew what enchanted lands,
brought vague dreams of some delightful fu-^
ture where daily toil would not claim her and
she might be as those other girls of the outer
world to whom existence seemed such a joyous
Winifred was not discontented with her lot
the ichor of youth and good health flowed
too strongly in her veins. But at times she
was bewildered by a sense of aloofness from
the rest of humanity.
Above all did she suffer from the girls she
met in the warehouse. Some were coarse,
nearly every one was frivolous. Their talk,
their thinly-veiled allusions to a night life in
which she bore no part, puzzled and disturbed
her. True, the wild revels of which they
boasted did not sound either marvelous or
attractive when analyzed. A couple of hours
26 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
at the movies, a frolic in a dance hall, a quar-
rel about some youthful gallant, violent fluc-
tuations from arm-laced friendship to spar-
kling-eyed hatred and back again to tears and
kisses these joys and cankers formed the lim-
ited gamut of their emotions.
For all that, Winifred could not help asking
herself with ever increasing insistence why
she alone, among a crude, noisy sisterhood of
a hundred young women of her own age,
should be with them yet not of them. She
realized that her education fitted her for a
higher place in the army of New York work-
ers than a bookbinder's bench. She could soon
have acquired proficiency as a stenographer.
Pleasant, well-paid situations abounded in the
stores and wholesale houses. There was even
some alluring profession called "the stage/*
where a girl might actually earn a living by
singing and dancing, and Winifred could cer-
tainly sing and was certain she could dance if
What queer trick of fate, then, had brought
her to Brown, Son & Brown's in the spring of
that year, and kept her there? She could not
tell. She could not even guess why she dwelt
so far up-town, while every other girl in the
establishment had a home either in or near
WINIFRED HEARS SOMETHING 27
Heigho! Life was a riddle. Surely some
day she would solve it.
Her mind ran on this problem more strongly
than usual that morning. Still pondering it,
she diverged for a moment at the Soldiers '
and Sailors' Monument, and stood on the stone
terrace which commands such a magnificent
stretch of the silvery Hudson, with the green
heights of the New Jersey shore directly op-
posite, and the Palisades rearing their lofty
crests away to the north.
Suddenly she became aware that a small
group of men had gathered there, and were
displaying a lively interest in two motor boats
on the river. Something out of the common
had stirred them; voices were loud and ges-
"Look!" said one, "they've gotten that
"You can't be sure," doubted another,
though his manner showed that he wanted only
to be convinced.
"D'ye think a police launch 'ud be foolin'
around with a tow at this time o' day if it
wasn't something special?" persisted the first
speaker. "Can't yer see it's empty? There's
a cop pointin' now to the clubhouse."
"Good for you," pronounced the doubtful
one. The pointing cop had clinched the argu-
28 TEE BARTLETT MYSTERY
"An' they're headin' that way," came the
Off raced the men. Winifred found that
people on top of motor-omnibuses scurrying
down-town were also watching the two craft.
Opposite the end of Eighty-Sixth Street such
a crowd assembled as though by magic that
she could not see over the railings. She could
not imagine why people should be so worked
up by the mere finding of an empty boat. She
heard allusions to names, but they evoked no
echo in her mind. At last, approaching a girl
among the sightseers, she put a timid ques-
"Can you tell me what is the matter 1 ?" she
"They've found the boat," came the ready
"Yes, but what boat? Why any boat!"
"Haven't you read about the murder last
night. Mr. Van Hofen, who owns that yacht
there, the San Sowsy, had a party of friends
on board, an' one of 'em was dragged into the
river an' drowned. Nice goin's on. San
Sowsy it's a good name for the whole bunch,
Winifred did not understand why the girl
"What a terrible thing!" she said. "Per-
WINIFRED HEARS SOMETHING 29
haps it was only an accident; and sad enough
at that if some poor man lost his life."
"Oh, no. It's a murder right enough. The
papers are full of it. I was walkin' here at
nine o'clock with a fellow. It might ha' been
done under me very nose. What d'ye know
"It's very sad," repeated Winifred. "Such
dreadful things seem to be almost impossible
under this blue sky and in bright sunshine.
Even the river does not look cruel."
She went on, having no time for further
dawdling. Her informant glanced after her
curiously, for Winifred's cheap clothing and
worn shoes were oddly at variance with her
voice and manner.
At Seventy-Second Street Winifred bought
a newspaper, which she read instead of the
tiny volume of Browning's poems ^carried in
her hand-bag. She always contrived to have
a book or periodical for the train journeys,
since men had a way of catching her eye when
she glanced around thoughtlessly, and such
incidents were annoying. She soon learned
the main details of "The Yacht Mystery."
The account of Ronald Tower's dramatic end
was substantially accurate. It contained, of
course, no allusion to Senator Meikle John's
singular connection with the affair, but Clancy
had taken care that a disturbing paragraph
30 TEE BAETLETT MYSTERY
should appear with the rest of a lurid
"Sinister rumors are current in clubland,"
read Winifred. "These warrant the belief
that others beside the thugs in the boat are
implicated in the tragedy. Indeed, it is whis-
pered that a man high in the political world
can, if he chooses, throw light on what is,
at this writing, an inexplicable crime, a crime
which would be incredible if it had not actu-
ally taken place."
The reporter did not know, and Clancy did
not tell him, just what this innuendo meant.
The detective was anxious that Senator Meik-
lejohn should realize the folly of refusing all
information to the authorities, and this thinly-
veiled threat of publicity was one way of
bringing him to his senses.
Winifred had never before come into touch,
so to speak, with any deed of criminal vio-
lence. She was so absorbed in the story of
the junketing at a fashionable club, with its
astounding sequel in a locality familiar to her
eyes, that she hardly noticed a delay on the
She did not even know that she would be ten
minutes late until she saw a clock at Four-
teenth Street. Then she raced to the door of
a big, many-storied building. A timekeeper
shook his head at her, but, punctual as a rule,
WINIFRED HEARS SOMETHING 31
on wet mornings she was invariably the first
to arrive, so the watch-dog compromised on
the give-and-take principle. When she emerged
from the elevator at the ninth floor her
cheeks were still suffused with color, her eyes
were alight, her lips parted under the spell of
excitement and haste. In a word, she looked
Two people evidently took this view of her
as she advanced into the workroom after hang-
ing up her hat and coat.
"You're late again, Bartlett," snapped Miss
Agatha Sugg, a forewoman, whose initials sug-
gested an obvious nickname among the set of
flippant girls she ruled with a severity that
was also ungracious. "I'll not speak to you
any more on the matter. Next time you'll be
Winifred's high color fled before this dire
threat. Even the few dollars a week she
earned by binding books was essential to the
up-keep of her home. At any rate this fact
was dinned into her ears constantly, and formed
a ready argument against any change of em-
"I'm sorry, Miss Sugg," she stammered.
"I didn't think I had lost any time. Indeed,
I started out earlier than usual."
"Kubbish!" snorted Miss Sugg. "What 're
givin' me? It's a fine day."
"Yes," said Winifred timidly, "but unfor-
tunately I stopped a while on Riverside Drive
to watch the police bringing in the boat from
which Mr. Tower was mur pulled into the
river last night."
"Riverside Drive!" snapped the forewoman.
"Your address is East One Hundred and
Twelfth Street, ain't it? What were you doing
on Riverside Drive?"
"I walk that way every morning unless it
Miss Sugg looked incredulous, but felt that
she was traveling outside her own territory.
"Anyhow," she said, "that's your affair, not
mine, an' it's no excuse for bein' late."
"Oh, come now," intervened a man's voice,
"this young lady is not so far behind time as
to cause such a row. She can pull out a bit
and make up for it."
Miss Sugg wheeled wrathfully to find Mr.
Fowle, manager on that floor, gazing at Wini-
fred with marked approval. Fowle, a shifty-
eyed man of thirty, compactly built, and some-
what of a dandy, seldom gave heed to any of
the girls employed by Brown, Son & Brown.
His benevolent attitude toward Winifred was
a new departure.
"Young lady!" gasped the forewoman. She
was in such a temper that other words failed.
"Yes, she isn't an old one," smirked Fowle.
WINIFRED HEARS SOMETHING 33
" That's all right, Miss Bartlett, get on with
your work. Miss Sugg's bark is worse than
Though he had poured oil on the troubled
waters his air was not altogether reassuring.
Winifred went to her bench in a flurry of trep-
idation. She dreaded the vixenish Miss Sugg
less than the too complaisant manager. Some-
how, she fancied that he would soon speak to
her again ; when, a few minutes later, he drew
near, and she felt rather than saw that he was
staring at her boldly, she flushed to the nape
of her graceful neck.
Yet he put a quite orthodox question.
"Did I get your story right when you came
in?" he said. "I think you told Miss Sugg
that the harbor police had picked up the mo-
tor-boat in that yacht case."
"So I heard," said Winifred. She was in
charge of a wire-stitching machine, and her
deft fingers were busy. Moreover, she was re-
solved not to give Fowle any pretext for pro-
longing the conversation.
"Who told you?"
The manager's tone grew a trifle less cor-
dial. He was not accustomed to being held
at arm's length by any young woman in the
establishment whom he condescended to notice.
"I really don't know," and Winifred began
placing her array of work in sorted piles.
34 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
"Indeed, I spoke carelessly. No one told me.
I saw a commotion on Riverside Drive, and
heard a man arguing with others that a boat
then being towed by a police launch must be
the missing one."
Fowle 's whiff of annoyance had passed. He
had jumped to the conclusion that such an ex-
tremely pretty girl would surely own a sweet-
heart who escorted her to and from work each
day. He did not suspect that every junior
clerk downstairs had in turn offered his ser-
vices in this regard, but with such lack of suc-
cess that each would-be suitor deemed Winifred
"I wish I had been there," he said. "Do
you go home the same way?"
Winifred was aware that the other girls
were watching her furtively and exchanging
"You take the Third Avenue L, I suppose?"
persisted Fowle. Then Winifred faced him
squarely. For some reason her temper got
the better of her.
"It is a house rule, Mr. Fowle," she said,
"that the girls are forbidden to talk during
"Nonsense," laughed Fowle. "I'm in
charge here, an' what I say goes."
Jle left her, however, and busied himself
WINIFRED HEARS SOMETHING 35
elsewhere. Apparently, he was even forgiving
enough to call Miss Sugg out of the room and
detain her all the rest of the morning.
Winifred was promptly rallied by some of
"I must say this for you, Winnie Bartlett,
you don't think you're the whole shootin'
match," said a stout, red-faced creature, who
would have been more at home on a farm than
in a New York warehouse, "but it gets my goat
when you hand the mustard to Fowle in that
w r ay. If he made goo-goo eyes at me, I'd play,
"I wish little Carlotta was a blue-eyed, gold-
en-haired queen," sighed another, a squat Nea-
politan with the complexion of a Moor.
"She's give Fowle a chance to dig into his
pocketbook, believe me."
The youthful philosopher won a chorus of
approval. All the girls liked Winifred. They
even tacitly admitted that she belonged to a
different order, and seldom teased her.
Fowle 's obvious admiration, however, imposed
too severe a strain, and their tongues ran
The luncheon-hour came, and Winifred hur-
ried out with the others. They patronized a
restaurant in Fourteenth Street. At a news-
stand she purchased an evening paper, a rare
event, since she had to account for every cent
36 THE BABTLETT MYSTERY
of expenditure. Though allowed books, she
was absolutely forbidden newspapers!
But this forlorn girl, who knew so little of
the great city in whose life she was such an in-
significant item, felt oddly concerned in "The
Yacht Mystery." It was the first noteworthy
event of which she had even a remote first-
hand knowledge. That empty launch, its very
abondonment suggesting eeriness and fatality,
was a tangible thing. Was she not one of the
few who had literally seen it? So she invested
her penny, and after reading of the discovery
of the boat it was found moored to a wharf
at the foot of Fort Lee breathlessly read:
As the outcome of information given by a well-
known Senator, the police have obtained an important
clue which leads straight to a house in One Hundred
and Twelfth Street.
1 l Well," mused Winifred, wide-eyed wdth as-
tonishment. "Fancy that! The very street
where I live!"
She read on :
The arrest of at least one person, a woman, sus-
pected of complicity in the crime may occur at any
moment. Detectives are convinced that the trail of
the murderers will soon be clearer.
Every effort is being made to recover Mr. Tower's
body, which, it is conceivable, may have been weigh tc 1
and sunk in the river near the spot where the boat
WINIFRED HEARS SOMETHING 37
Winifred gave more attention to the news-
paper report than to her frugal meal. Kesolv-
ing, however, that Miss Sugg should have no
further cause for complaint that day, she re-
turned to the factory five minutes before time.
An automobile was standing outside the en-
trance, but she paid no heed to it.
The checker tapped at his little window as
''The boss wants you," he said.
"Me!" she cried. Her heart sank. Between
Miss Sugg and Mr. Fowle she had already
probably lost her situation!
"Yep," said the man. "You're Winifred
Bartlett, I guess. Anyhow, if there's another
peach like you in the bunch I haven't seen
She bit her lip and tears trembled in her
eyes. Perhaps the gruff Cerberus behind the
window sympathized with her. He lowered his
voice to a hoarse whisper: ''There's a cop in
there, an' a 'tec,' too."
Winifred was startled out of her forebod-
"They cannot want me!" she said amaz-
"Y0u never can tell, girlie. Queer jinks
happen sometimes. I wouldn't bat an eye-
lid if they rounded up the boss hisself."
She was sure now that some stupid mistake
38 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
had been made. At any rate, she no longer
dreaded dismissal, and the first intuition of
impending calamity yielded to a nervous
curiosity as she pushed open a door leading to
the general office.
A CLERK, one of the would-be swains who
had met with chilling discouragement after
working-hours, was evidently on the lookout
for her. An ignoble soul prompted a smirk
of triumph now.
"Go straight in," he said, jerking a thumb.
"A cop's waitin' for you."
Winifred did not vouchsafe him even an in-
dignant glance. Holding her head high, she
passed through the main office, and made for
a door marked "Manager." She knocked,
and was admitted by Mr. Fowle. Grouped
around a table she saw one of the members of
the firm, the manager, a policeman, and a
dapper little man, slight of figure, who held
himself very erect. He was dressed in blue
serge, and had the ivory-white face and wrin-
kled skin of an actor. She was conscious at
once of the penetration of his glance. His
eyes were black and luminous. They seemed
to pierce her with an X-ray quality of com-
40 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
"This is the girl," announced Mr. Fowle
The little man in the blue suit took the lead
"You are Winifred Bartlett?" he said, and
by some subtle inter-flow of magnetism Wini-
fred knew instantly that she had nothing to
fear from this diminutive stranger.
"Yes," she replied, looking at him squarely.
"You live in East One Hundred and Twelfth
"With a woman described as your aunt, and
known as Miss Rachel Craik?"
Each affirmative marked a musical crescendo.
Especially was Winifred surprised by the scep-
tical description of her only recognized rela-
"Well," went on Clancy, suppressing a smile
at the girl's na'ive astonishment, "don't be
alarmed, but I want you to come with me to
Now, Winifred had just been reading about
certain activities in Mulberry Street, and her
eyebrows rounded in real amazement.
"Isn't that the Police Headquarters?" she
Fowle chuckled, whereupon Clancy said
FURTHER SURPRISES 41
"Yes. One man here seems to know the ad-
dress quite intimately. But that fact need not
set your heart fluttering. The chief of the De-
tective Bureau wishes to put a few questions.
That is all."
"Questions about what?"
Winifred's natural dignity came to her aid.
She refused to have this grave matter treated
as a joke.
"Take my advice, Miss Bartlett, and don't
discuss things further until you have met Mr.
Steingall," said Clancy.
"But I have never even heard of Mr. Stein-
gall," she protested. "What right have you
or he to take me away from my work to a police-
station ? What wrong have I done to any one ? ' '
"None, I believe."
"Surely I have a right to some explanation."
"If you insist I am bound to answer."
"Then I do insist," and Winifred's height-
ened color and wrathful eyes only enhanced her
beauty. Clancy spread his hands in a gesture
inherited from a French mother.
"Very well," he said. "You are required
to give evidence concerning the death of Mr.
Ronald Tower. Now, I cannot say any more.
I have a car outside. You will be detained less
than an hour. The same car will bring you
back, and I think I can guarantee that your em-
ployers will raise no difficulty."
42 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
The head of the firm growled agreement.
As a matter of fact the staid respectability of
Brown, Son & Brown had sustained a shock by
the mere presence of the police. Murder has
an ugly aspect. It was often bound up in the
firm's products, but never before had it entered
that temple of efficiency in other guise.
Clancy sensed the slow fermentation of the
"If I had known what sort of girl this was
I would never have brought a policeman," he
muttered into the great man's ear. "She has
no more to do with this affair than you have."
"It is very annoying very," was the peev-
"What is? Assisting the police?"
"Oh, no. Didn't mean that, of course."
The detective thought he might do more
narm than good by pressing for a definition of
the firm's annoyance. He turned to Winifred.
"Are you ready, Miss Bartlett?" he said.
"The only reason the Bureau has for troubling
you is the accident of your address."
Almost before the girl realized the new and
astounding conditions which had come into her
life she was seated in a closed automobile and
speeding swiftly down-town.
She was feminine enough, however, to ply
Clancy with questions, and he had to fence with
her, as it was all-important that such inf orma-
FURTHER SURPRISES 43
tion as she might be able to give should be im-
parted when he and Steingall could observe
her closely. The Bureau hugged no delusions.
Its vast experience of the criminal world ren-
dered misplaced sympathy with erring mortals
almost impossible. Young or old, rich or poor,
beautiful or ugly, the strange procession which
passes in unending review before the police
authorities is subjected to impartial yet search-
ing analysis. Few of the guilty ones escape
suspicion, no matter how slight the connecting
clue or scanty the evidence. On the other hand,
Steingall and his trusty aid seldom made a
mistake when they decided, as Clancy had al-
ready done in Winifred's case, that real inno-
cence had come under the shadow of crime.
Steingall shared Clancy's opinion the instant
he set eyes on the new witness. He gazed at
her with a humorous dismay that was wholly
"Sit there, Miss Bartlett," he said, rising
to place a chair for her. "Please don't feel
nervous. I am sure you understand that only
those who have broken the law need fear it.
Now, you haven't killed anybody, have you?"
Winifred smiled. She liked this big man's
kindly manner. Really, the police were not
such terrifying ogres when you came to close
quarters with them.
"No, indeed," she said, little guessing that
44 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
Clancy had indulged in a Japanese grimace be-
hind her back, thereby informing his chief that
"The Yacht Mystery" was still maintaining
its claim to figure as one of the most sensa-
tional crimes the Bureau had investigated dur-
ing many a year.
Steingall, wishing to put the girl wholly at
ease, affected to consult some notes on his desk,
but Winifred was too wrought up to keep silent.
"The gentleman who brought me here told
me that I would be required to give evidence
concerning the murder of Mr. Ronald Tower,"
she said. "Believe me, sir, that unfortunate
gentleman's name was unknown to me before I
read it in this morning's paper. I have no
knowledge of the manner of his death other
than is contained in the account printed here
in this newspaper."
She proffered the newspaper purchased be-
fore lunch, which she still held in her left hand.
The impulsive action broadened Steingall 's
smile. He was still utterly at a loss to account
for this well-mannered girl's queer environ-
"Why," he cried, "I quite understand that.
Mr. Clancy didn't tell you we regarded you as
a desperate crook, did he?"
Winifred yielded to the chief's obvious de-
sire to lift their talk out of the rut of formality.
She could not help being interested in these two
FURTHER SURPRISES 45
men, so dissimilar in their characteristics, yet
each so utterly unlike the somewhat awesome
personage she would have sketched if asked to
define her idea of a "detective." Clancy, who
had taken a chair at the side of the table, sat
on it as though he were an automaton built of
steel springs and ready to bounce instantly in
any given direction. SteingalPs huge bulk
lolled back indolently. He had been smoking
when the others entered, and a half-consumed
cigar lay on an ash-tray. Winifred thought it
would be rather amusing if she, in turn, made
" Please don't put away your cigar on my
account," he said. "I like the smell of good
"Ha!" cackled Clancy.
"Thank you," said Steingall, tucking the
Havana into a corner of his mouth. The two
men exchanged glances, and Winifred smiled.
Steingall 's look of tolerant contempt at his
assistant was distinctly amusing.
"That little shrimp can't smoke, Miss Bart-
lett," he explained, "so he is an anti-tobacco
"You wouldn't care to take poison, would
you?" and Clancy shot the words at Winifred
so sharply that she was almost startled.
"No. Of course not," she agreed.
"Yet that is what that mountain of brawn
does during fourteen hours out of the twenty-
four. Nicotine is one of the deadliest poisons
known to science. Even when absorbed into
the tissues in minute doses it corrodes the brain
and atrophies the intellect. Did you see how
he grinned when you described that vile weed
as 'good tobacco'? Now, you don't know good,
meaning real, tobacco from bad, do you ? ' '
"I know whether or not I like the scent of
it," persisted Winifred. She began to think
that officialdom in Mulberry Street affected the
methods of the court circles frequented by Alice
and the Mad Hatter.
"Don't mind him," put in Steingall genially.
"He's a living example of the close alliance be-
tween insanity and genius. On the tobacco
question he's simply cracked, and that is all
there is to it. Now we're wasting your time
by this chatter. I'll come to serious business
by asking a question which you will not find
embarrassing for a good many years yet to
come. How old are you?"
"Nineteen last birthday."
"When were you born?"
"On June 6, 1894."
Winifred reddened slightly.
"I don't know," she said.
Steingall seemed to be immensely surprised,
FURTHER SURPRISES 47
and Winifred proceeded forthwith to throw
light on this singular admission, which was
exactly what he meant her to do.
' ' That is a very odd statement, but it is quite
true," she said earnestly. "My aunt would
never tell me where I was born. I believe it
was somewhere in the New England States, but
I have only the vaguest grounds for the
opinion. What I mean is that aunty occa-
sionally reveals a close familiarity with Boston
"What is her full name?"
"She has never been married?"
Winifred's sense of humor was keen. She
laughed at the idea of "Aunt Rachel" having
"I don't think aunty will ever marry any-
body now," she said. "She holds the opposite
sex in detestation. No man is ever admitted
to our house."
"It is a small, old-fashioned residence,
but very large for the requirements of two
women!" continued Steingall. He took no
notes, and might have been discussing the
weather, now that the first whiff of wonderment
as to Winifred's lack of information about her
birth-place had passed.
"Yes. We have several rooms unoccupied."
1 ' And unfurnished f ' '
48 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
"Say partly furnished."
"Ever had any boarders?"
"No servants, of course?"
"And how long have you been employed in
Messrs. Brown, Son & Brown's bookbinding
"About six months."
"What do you earn!"
"Eight dollars a week."
"Is that the average amount paid to the
' ' Slightly above the average. I am supposed
to be quick and accurate."
"Well now, Miss Bartlett, you seem to be
a very intelligent and well-educated young
woman. How comes it that you are employed
in such work?"
"It was the best I could find," she volun-
"No doubt. But you must be well aware that
few, if any, among the girls in the bookbinding
business can be your equal in education, and,
may I add, in refinement. Now, if you were a
bookkeeper, a cashier or a typist, I could un-
derstand it ; but it does seem odd to me that you
should be engaged in this kind of job."
"It was my aunt's wish," said Winifred
FURTHER SURPRISES 49
Steingall dwelt on the monosyllable.
"What reason did she give for such a singu-
lar choice?" he went on.
"I confess it has puzzled me," was the un-
affected answer. "Although aunty is severe in
her manner she is well educated, and she taught
me nearly all I know, except music and singing,
for which I took lessons from Signor Pecci
ever since I was a tiny mite until about two
years ago. Then, I believe, aunty lost a good
deal of money, and it became necessary that I
should earn something. Signor Pecci offered
to get me a position in a theater, but she would
not hear of it, nor would she allow me to enter
a shop or a restaurant. Really, it was aunty
who got me work with Messrs. Brown, Son &
"In other words," said Steingall, "you were
deliberately reared to fill a higher social sta-
tion, and then, for no assignable reason, save
a whim, compelled to sink to a much lower
"I do not know. I never disputed aunty's
right to do w r hat she thought best."
"Well, well, it is odd. Do you ever entertain
"None whatever. We have no acquaint-
ances, and live very quietly."
"Do you mean to say that your aunt never
50 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
sees any one but yourself and casual callers,
such as tradespeople?"
"So far as I know, that is absolutely the
"Very curious," commented Steingall.
"Does your aunt go out much?"
"She leaves the house occasionally after I
have gone to bed at ten o'clock, but that is sel-
dom, and I have no idea where she goes. Every
week-day, you know, I am away from home
between seven in the morning and half past six
at night, excepting Saturday afternoons. If
possible, I take a long walk before going to
work. ' '
"Do you go straight home?"
Winifred remembered Mr. Fowle's query,
and smiled again.
"Yes," she said.
"Now last night, for instance, was your aunt
at home when you reached the house ? ' '
"No; she was out. She did not come in until
half past nine."
"Did she go out again last night?"
"I do not know. I was tired. I went to bed
Steingall bent over his notes for the first time
since Winifred appeared. His lips were pursed,
and he seemed to be weighing certain facts
"I think," he said at last, "that I need not
FURTHER SURPRISES 51
detain you any longer, Miss Bartlett. By the
way, I'll give you a note to your employers to
say that you are in no way connected with the
crime we have under investigation. It may,
perhaps, save you needless annoyance."
"Thank you, sir," said the girl. "But won't
you tell me why you have asked me so many
questions about my aunt and her ways?"
Steingall looked at her thoughtfully before
he answered: "In the first place, Miss Bart-
lett, tell me this. I assume Miss Craik is your
mother's sister. When did your mother
Winifred blushed with almost childish dis-
comfiture. "It may seem very stupid to say
such a thing," she admitted, "but I have never
known either a father or a mother. My aunt
has always refused to discuss our family affairs
in any way whatever. I fear her view is that
I am somewhat lucky to be alive at all."
"Few people would be found to agree with
her," said the chief gallantly. "Now I want
you to be brave and patient. A very extraor-
dinary crime has been committed, and the police
occasionally find clues in the most unexpected
quarters. I regret to tell you that Miss Craik
is believed to be in some way connected with
the mysterious disappearance, if not the death,
of Mr. Ronald Tower, and she is being held for
52 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
Winifred's face blanched. "Do you mean
that she will be kept in prison?" she said, with
a break in her voice.
"She must be detained for a while, but you
need not be so alarmed. Her connection with
this outrage may be as harmless as your own,
though I can inform you that, without your
knowledge, your house last night certainly
sheltered two men under grave suspicion, and
for whom we are now searching. ' '
"Two men! In our house!" cried the amazed
"Yes. I tell you this to show you the neces-
sity there is for calmness and reticence on your
part. Don't speak to any one concerning your
visit here. Above all else, don't be afraid. Have
you any one with whom you can go to live until
Miss Craik is" he corrected himself "until
matters are cleared up a bit?"
"No," wailed Winifred, her pent-up feelings
breaking through all restraint. "I am quite
alone in the world now."
"Come, come, cheer up!" said Steingall, ris-
ing and patting her on the shoulder. "This
disagreeable business may only last a day or
two. You will not want for anything. If you
are in any trouble all you need do is to let
me know. Moreover, to save you from being
afraid of remaining alone in the house at night,
I'll give special instructions to the police in
FURTHER SURPRISES 53
your precinct to watch the place closely. Now,
be a brave girl and make the best of it."
The house in One Hundred and Twelfth
Street would, of course, be an object of special
interest to the police for other reasons apart
from those suggested by the chief. Neverthe-
less, his kindness had the desired effect, and
"Winifred strove to repress her tears.
"Here is your note," he said, "and I advise
you to forget this temporary trouble in your
work. Mr. Clancy will accompany you in the
car if you wish."
"Please I would rather be alone," she fal-
tered. She was far from Mulberry Street be-
fore she- remembered that she had said nothing
about seeing the boat that morning !
DURING the brief run up-town Winifred man-
aged to dry her tears, yet the mystery and
terror of the circumstances into which she was
so suddenly plunged seemed to become more
distressful the longer she puzzled over them.
She could not find any outlet from a labyrinth
of doubt and uncertainty. She strove again to
read the printed accounts of the crime, in order
to wrest from them some explanation of the
extraordinary charge brought against her aunt,
but the words danced before her eyes. At last,
with an effort, she threw the paper away and
bravely resolved to follow Steingall's parting
When she reached the warehouse she was nat-
urally the object of much covert observation.
Neither Miss Sugg nor Mr. Fowle spoke to her,
but Winifred thought she saw a malicious smile
on the forewoman's face. The hours passed
wearily until six o'clock. She was about to
quit the building with her companions many
of whom meant bombarding her with questions
at the first opportunity when she was again
requested to report at the office.
A clerk handed her one of the firm's pay
"What's comin' to you up to date," he
blurted out, "and a week's salary instead of
She was dismissed!
Some girls might have collapsed under this
final blow, but not so Winifred Bartletfe,
Knowing it was useless to say anything to the
clerk, she spiritedly demanded an interview
with the manager. This was refused. She in-
sisted, and sent Steingall's letter to the inner
sanctum, having concluded that the dismissal
was in some way due to her visit to the detec-
The clerk came back with the note and a mes-
sage: "The lirm desire me to tell you," he
said, "that they quite accept your explanation,
but they have no further need of your servi-
Explanation ! How could a humble employee
explain away the unsavory fact that the smug
respectability of Brown, Son & Brown had been
outraged by the name of the firm appearing in
the evening papers as connected, even in the
remotest way, with the sensational crime now
engaging the attention of all New York?
Winifred walked into the street. Something
56 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
in her face warned even the most inquisitive of
her fellow-workers to leave her alone. Besides,
the poor always evince a lively sympathy with
others in misfortune. These working-class girls
were consumed with curiosity, yet they respect-
ed Winifred's feelings, and did not seek to
intrude on her very apparent misery by inquiry
or sympathetic condolence. A few among them
watched, and even followed her a little way as
she turned the corner into Fourteenth Street.
"She goes home by the Third Avenue L,"
said Carlotta. ' ' Sometimes I've walked with her
that far. H'lo! Why's Fowle goin' east in a
taxi! He lives on West Seventeenth. Betcher
a dime he's after Winnie."
"Whadda ya mean after her!" cried an-
"Why, didn't you hear how he spoke up for
her this mornin' when Ole Mother Sugg handed
her the lemon about bein' late!"
"But he got her fired."
"He did, I tell you. I heard him phonin* a
newspaper. He made 'em wise about Winnie's
bein' pinched, and then took the paper to the
boss. I was below with a packin' check when
he went in, so I saw that with my own eyes, an'
that's just as far as I'd trust Fowle."
The cynic's shrewd surmise was strictly ac-
curate. Fowle had, indeed, secured Winifred's
dismissal. Her beauty and disdain had stirred
his lewd impulses to their depths. His plan
now was to intercept her before she reached her
home, and pose as the friend in need who is
the most welcome of all friends. Knowing
nothing whatsoever of her domestic surround-
ings he deemed it advisable to make inquiries
on the spot. His crafty and vulpine nature
warned him against running his head into a
noose, since Winifred might own a strong-
armed father or brother, but no one could pos-
sibly resent a well-meant effort at assistance.
The mere sight of her graceful figure as she
hurried along with pale face and downcast eyes
inflamed. him anew when his taxi sped by. She
could not avoid him now. He would go up-town
by an earlier train, and await her at the corner
of One Hundred and Twelfth Street.
But the wariest fox is apt to find his paw in
a trap, and Fowle, though foxy, was by no
means so astute as he imagined himself. Once
again that day Fate was preparing a surprise
for Winifred, and not the least dramatic feature
thereof connoted the utter frustration and
undoing of Fowle.
About the time that Winifred caught her
train it befell that Bex Carshaw, gentleman of
leisure, the most industrious idler who ever
extracted dividends from a business he cared
little about, drove a high-powered car across
58 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
the Harlem River by the Willis Avenue Bridge,
and entered that part of Manhattan which lies
opposite Randall's Island.
This was a new world to the eyes of the young
millionaire. Nor was it much to his liking. The
mixed citizenry of New York must live some-
where, but Carshaw saw no reason why he and
his dainty car should loiter in a district which
seemed highly popular with all sorts of unde-
sirable folks ; so, after skirting Thomas Jeffer-
son Park he turned west, meaning to reach the
better roadway and more open stretches of
A too hasty express wagon, however, heed-
less of the convenience of wealthy automobil-
ists, bore down on Carshaw like a Juggernaut
car, and straightway smashed the differ-
ential, besides inflicting other grievous injuries
on a complex mechanism. A policeman, the
proprietor of a neighboring garage, and a
greatly interested crowd provided an im-
promptu jury for the dispute between Carshaw
and the express man.
The latter put up a poor case. It consisted
almost entirely of the bitter and oft-repeated
"What was a car like that doin' here, any-
how I r '
The question sounded foolish. It was nothing
of the kind. Only the Goddess of Wisdom
could have answered it, and she, being invisible,
was necessarily dumb.
At last, when the damaged car was housed for
the night, Carshaw set out to walk a couple of
blocks to the elevated railway, his main objec-
tive being dinner with his mother in their apart-
ment on Madison Avenue. He found himself
in a comparatively quiet street, wherein blocks
of cheap modern flats alternated with the dingy
middle-class houses of a by-gone generation.
He halted to light a cigarette, and, at that mo-
ment, a girl of remarkable beauty passed, walk-
ing quickly, yet without apparent effort. Sh
was pallid and agitated, and her eyes were
swimming with ill-repressed tears.
As a matter of fact, Winifred nearly broke
down at sight of her empty abode. It was a
cheerless place at best, and now the thought of
being left there alone had induced a sense of
feminine helplessness which overcame her
Carshaw was distinctly impressed. In the
first place, he was young and good-looking, and
human enough to try and steal a second glance
at such a lovely face, though the steadily de-
creasing light was not altogether favorable.
Secondly, he thought he had .never seen any girl
who carried herself with such rhythmic grace.
Thirdly, here was a woman in distress, and, to
one of Carshaw 's temperament and upbringing,
60 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
that in itself formed a convincing reason why
he should wish to help her.
He racked his brain for a fitting excuse to
offer his services. He could find none. Above
all else, Kex Carshaw was a gentleman.
Of course, he could not tell that the way was
being made smooth for knight-errantry by a
certain dragon named Fowle. He did not even
quicken his pace, and was musing on the curi-
ous incongruity of the maid in distress with the
rather squalid district in which she had her
being when he saw a man bar her path.
This was Fowle, who, with lifted hat, was
saying deferentially: ''Miss Bartlett, may I
have a word?"
Winifred stopped as though she had run into
an unseen obstruction. She even recoiled a step
"What do you want!'* she said, and there
was a quality of scorn, perhaps of fear, in her
voice that sent Carshaw, now five yards away,
into the open doorwaj r of a block of flats. He
was an impulsive young man. He liked the
girl's face, and quite as fixedly disliked
Fowle 's. So he adopted the now world-famous
policy of watchful waiting, being not devoid of
a dim belief that the situation might evolve an
"I want to tell you how sorry I am for what
happened to-day," said Fowle, trying to speak
sympathetically, but not troubling to veil the
bold admiration of his stare. "I tried hard
to stop unpleasantness, and even risked a row
with the boss. But it was no use. I couldn't
do a thing."
"But why are you here?" demanded Wini-
fred, and those sorrow-laden eyes of hers
might have won pity from any but one of
"To help, of course," came the ready assur-
ance. "I can get you a far better job than
stitchin' octavos at Brown's. You're not mean-
in' to stay home with your folks, I suppose?"
"That is kind of you," said Winifred. "I
may have to depend altogether on my own
efforts, so I shall need work. I'll write to you
for a reference, and perhaps for advice."
She had unwittingly told Fowle just what
he was eager to know that she was friendless
and alone. He prided himself on understand-
ing the ways of women, and lost no more time
in coming to the point.
"Listen, now, Winnie," he said, drawing
nearer, "I'd like to see you through this worry.
Forget it. You can draw down twice or three
times the money as a model in Goldberg's Store.
I know Goldberg, an' can fix things. An', say,
why mope at home evenings ? I often get orders
for two for the theaters an' vaudeville shows.
What about comin' along down-town to-night?
62 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
A bit of dinner an' a cabaret 'd cheer you up
after to-day's unpleasantness."
Winifred grew scarlet with vexation. The
man had always been a repulsive person in her
eyes, and, unversed though she was in the
world's wiles, she knew instinctively that his
present pretensions were merely a cloak for
rascality. One should be fair to Winifred, too.
Like every other girl, she had pictured the
Prince Charming who would come into her life
some day. But Fowle ! Her gorge rose.
"How dare you follow me here and say such
vile things?" she cried hysterically.
"What's up now?" said Fowle in mock sur-
prise. "What have I said that you should fly
off the trolley in that way?"
"I take it that this young lady is telling you
to quit," broke in another voice. "Go, now!
Go while the going is good."
Quietly but firmly elbowing Fowle aside, Rex
Carshaw raised his hat and spoke to Winifred.
"If this fellow is annoying you he can soon
be dealt with, "he said. "Do you live near? If
so, he can stop right here. I'll occupy his mind
till you are out of sight. ' '
The discomfited masher was snarling like a
vicious cur. The first swift glance that meas-
ured the intruder's proportions did not warrant
any display of active resentment on his part.
Out of the tail of his eye, however, he noticed
a policeman approaching on the opposite side
of the street. The sight lent a confidence which
might have been lacking otherwise.
4 'Why are you buttin' in!" he cried furi-
ously. ''This young lady is a friend of mine.
I'm try in* to pull her out of a difficulty, but
she's got me all wrong. Anyhow, what busi-
ness is it of yours!"
Fowle 's anger was wasted, since Carshaw
seemed not to hear. Indeed, why should a
chivalrous young man pay heed to Fowle
when he could gaze his fill into Winifred's
limpid eyes and listen to her tuneful voice?
"I am very greatly obliged to you," she was
saying, '"but I hope Mr. Fowle understands
now that I do not desire his company and will
not seek to force it on me."
"Sure he understands. Don't you, Fowle?"
and Carshaw gave the disappointed wooer a
look of such manifest purpose that something
had to happen quickly. Something did happen.
Fowle knew the game was up, and behaved
after the manner of his kind.
"You're a cute little thing, Winifred Bart-
lett," he sneered, with a malicious glance from
the girl to Carshaw, while a coarse guffaw
imparted venom to his utterance. "Think
you're taking an easier road to the white lights,
"Guess again, Fowle," said Carshaw.
64 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
He spoke so quietly that Fowle was misled,
because the pavement rose and struck him vio-
lently on the back of his head. At least, that
was his first impression. The second and more
lasting one was even more disagreeable. When
he sat up, and fumbled to recover his hat, he
was compelled to apply a handkerchief to his
nose, which seemed to have been reduced to a
"Too bad you should be mixed up in this dis-
turbance," Carshaw was assuring Winifred,
"but a pup of the Fowle species can be taught
manners in only one way. Now, suppose you
hurry home ! ' '
The advice was well meant, and Winifred
acted on it at once. Fowle had scrambled to
his feet and the policeman was running up.
From east and west a crowd came on the scene
like a well-trained stage chorus rushing in from
"Now, then, what's the trouble?" demanded
the law, with gruff insistency.
"Nothing. A friend of mine met with a
slight accident that's all," said Carshaw.
"It's it's all right," agreed Fowle thickly.
Some glimmer of reason warned him that an
expose in the newspapers would cost him his
job with Brown, Son & Brown. The policeman
eyed the damaged nose. He grinned.
"If you care to take a wallop like that as a
friendly tap it's your affair, not mine," he said.
"Anyhow, beat it, both of you!"
Carshaw was not interested in Fowle or the
policeman. He had been vouchsafed one
expressive look by Winifred as she hurried
away, and he watched the slim figure darting
up half a dozen steps to a small brown-stone
house, and opening the door with a latch-key.
Oddly enough, the policeman's attention was
drawn by the girl's movements. His air
"H'lo," he said, evidently picking on Fowle
as the doubtful one of these two. "This must
be inquired into. "What's your name!"
"No matter. I make no charge."
Fowle was turning away, but the policeman
"You come with me to the station-house,"
he said determinedly. "An' you, too," he
added jerking his head at Carshaw.
"Have you gone crazy with the heat?"
"I hold you for fighting in the public street,
an' that's all there is to it," was the firm reply.
"You can come quietly or be 'cuffed, just as
you like. Clear off, the rest of you."
An awe-stricken mob backed hastily. Fowle
was too dazed even to protest, and Carshaw
sensed some hidden but definite motive behind
the policeman's strange alternation of moods.
66 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
He locked again at the brown-stone house, but
night was closing in so rapidly that he could not
distinguish a face at any of the windows.
"Let us get there quickly I'll be late for
dinner," he said, and the three returned by the
way Carshaw had come.
Thus it was that Rex Carshaw, eligible
young society bachelor, was drawn into the
ever- widening vortex of "The Yacht Mystery."
He did not recognize it yet, but was destined
soon to feel the force of its swirling currents.
Gazing from a window of the otherwise
deserted house Winifred saw both her assail-
ant and her protector marched off by the police-
man. It was patent, even to her benumbed wits,
that they had been arrested. The tailing-in of
the mob behind the trio told her as much.
She was too stunned to do other than sink
into a chair. For a while she feared she was
going to faint. With lack-lustre eyes she peered
into a gulf of loneliness and despair. Then out-
raged nature came to her aid, and she burst into
a storm of tears.
CLANCY forced Senator Meikle John's hand
early in the fray. He was at the Senator's
flat within an hour of the time Ronald Tower
was dragged into the Hudson, but a smooth-
spoken English man-servant assured the de-
tective that his master was out, and not ex-
pected home until two or three in the morning.
This arrangement obviously referred to the
Van Hofen festivity, so Clancy contented him-
self with asking the valet to give the Senator a
card on which he scribbled a telephone number
and the words, "Please ring up when you get
Now, he knew, and Senator Meiklejohn knew,
the theater at which Mrs. Tower was enjoying
herself. He did not imagine for an instant that
the Senator was discharging the mournful duty
of announcing to his friend's wife the lament-
able fate which had overtaken her husband.
Merely as a perfunctory duty he went to the
theater and sought the manager.
"You know Mrs. Ronald Tower?" he said.
68 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
"Sure I do," said the official. "She's inside
now. Came here with Bobby Forrest."
"Anybody called for her recently 1 !"
"I think not, but I'll soon find out."
No. Mrs. Tower's appreciation of Belasco's
genius had not been disturbed that evening.
"Anything wrong?" inquired the manager.
Clancy's answer was ready.
"If Senator Meiklejohn comes here within
half an hour, see that the lady is told at once,"
he said. "If he doesn't show up in that time,
send for Mr. Forrest, tell him that Mr. Tower
has met with an accident, and leave him to look
after the lady."
"Wow! Is it serious! Why wait!"
"The slight delay won't matter, and the Sen-
ator can handle the situation better than For-
Clancy gave some telephonic instruction to
the man on night duty at headquarters. He
even dictated a paragraph for the press. Then
he went straight to bed, for the hardiest detec-
tives must sleep, and he had a full day's work'
before him when next the sun rose over New
He summed up Meiklejohn 's action cor-
rectly. The Senator did not communicate with
Mulberry Street during the night, so Clancy
was an early visitor at his apartment.
BROTHER RALPH 69
"The Senator is ill and can see no one," said
"No matter how ill he may be, he must see
me," retorted Clancy.
"But he musn't be disturbed. I have my
"Take a fresh set. He's going to be dis-
turbed right now, by you or me. Choose
The law prevailed. A few minutes later Sen-
ator Meiklejohn entered the library sitting-
room, where the little detective awaited him.
He looked wretchedly ill, but his sufferings
were mental, not physical. Examined critically
now, in the cold light of day, he was a very dif-
ferent man frotn the spruce, dandified politician
and financier who figured so prominently among
Van Hofen's guests the previous evening. Yet
Clancy saw at a glance that the Senator was
armed at all points. Diplomacy would be use-
less. The situation demanded a bludgeon. He
began the attack at once.
"Why didn't you ring up Mulberry Street
last night, Senator?" he said.
"I was too upset. My nerves were all in."
"You told the patrolman at Eighty-Sixth
Street that you were hurrying away to break
the news to Mrs. Tower, yet you did not go near
70 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
Meiklejolm affected to consult Clancy's card
to ascertain the detective's name.
"Perhaps I had better get in touch with the
Bureau now," he said, and a flush of anger
darkened his haggard face.
"No need. The Bureau is right here. Let
us get down to brass tacks, Senator. A
woman named Rachel met you outside the Four
Hundred Club at eight o'clock as you were
coming out. You had just spoken to Mrs.
Tower, when this woman told you that you
must meet two men who would ;t\vait you at the
Eighty-Sixth landing-stage at nine. You were
to bring five hundred dollars. At nine o'clock
these same men killed Mr. Tower, and you
yourself admitted to me that they mistook him
for you. Now, will you be good enough to fill
in the blanks'? Who is Rachel? Where does
she live I Who were the two men I Why should
you give them five hundred dollars, apparently
as blackmail V
Clancy was exceedingly disappointed by the
result of this thunderbolt. Any ordinary man
would have shrivelled under its crushing im-
pact. If the police knew so much that might rea-
sonably be regarded as secret, of what avail was
further concealment? Yet Senator Meiklejohn
bore up wonderfully. He showed surprise, as
well he might, but was by no means pulverized.
"All this is rather marvelous," he said
BROTHER RALPH 71
slowly, after a long pause. He had avoided
Clancy's gaze after the first few words, and
sank into an armchair with an r.ir of weariness
that was not assumed.
11 Simple enough," commented the detective
readily. Above all else he wanted Meiklejohn
to talk. "I was on duty outside the club, and
heard almost every word that passed between
you and liachel."
1 'Well, well."
The Senator arose and pressed an electric
"If you don't mind," he explained suavely,
"I'll order some coffee and rolls. Will you join
This was the parry of a skilled duelist to
divert an attack and gain breathing-time.
Clancy rather admired such adroitness.
"Sorry, I can't on principle," he countered.
"How on principle?"
"You see, Senator, I may have to arrest you,
and I never eat with any man with whom I may
"You take risks, Mr. Clancy."
"I love 'em. I'd cut my job to-day if it
wasn't for the occasional excitement."
The valet appeared.
"Coffee and rolls for two, Phillips," said
Meiklejohn. He turned to Clancy. "Perhaps
you would prefer toast and an egg?"
72 THE BAETLETT MYSTERY
"I haWe breakfasted already, Senator,"
smiled the detective, "but I may dally with the
When the door was closed on Phillips, his
master glanced at a clock on the mantelpiece.
The hour was eight-fifteen. Some days elapsed
before Clancy interpreted that incident cor-
"You rose early," said the Senator.
"Yes, but worms are coy this morning."
"Meaning that you still await answers to
your questions. I'll deal with you fully and
frankly, but I'm curious to know on what con-
ceivable ground you could arrest me for the
murder of my friend Ronald Tower."
"As an accessory before the act."
"But, consider. You have brains, Mr.
Clancy. I am glad the Bureau sent such a man.
How can a bit of unthinking generosity on my
part be construed as participation in a crime?"
"If you explain matters, Senator, the absur-
dity of the notion may become clear."
"Ah, that's better. Let me assure you that
my coffee will not affect your fine sensibilities.
Miss Rachel Craik is a lady I have known
nearly all my life. I have assisted her, within
my means. She resides in East One Hundred
and Twelfth Street, and the man about whom
she was so concerned last night is her brother.
He committed some technical offense years ago,
BROTHER RALPH 73
and has always been a ne'er-do-well. To please
his sister, and for no other reason, I undertook
to provide him with five hundred dollars, and
thus enable him to start life anew. I have never
met the man. I would not recognize him if I
saw him. I believe he is a desperate character ;
his maniacal behavior last night seems to leave
no room for doubt in that respect. Don't you
see, Mr. Clancy, that it was I, and not poor
Tower, whom he meant attacking? But for idle
chance, it is my corpse, not Tower's, that would
now be floating in the Hudson. You heard what
Tower said. I did not. I assume, however,
that some allusion was made to the money
which, by the way, is still in my pocketbook
and Tower scoffed at the notion that he had
come there to hand over five hundred dollars.
There you have the whole story, in so far as
I can tell it."
"For the present, Senator.
"It should yield many more chapters. Is that
all you're going to say? For instance, did you
call on Rachel Craik after leaving Eighty-Sixth
Meikle John's jaws closed like a steel trap.
He almost lost his temper.
"No," he said, seemingly conquering the
desire to blaze into anger at this gadfly of a
74 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
"I said 'no.' That is not 'yes.' I was so
overcome by Tower's miserable fate that I dis-
missed my car and walked home. I could not
face any one, least of all Helen Mrs. Tower."
"Or the Bureau?"
"Mr. Clancy, you annoy me."
Clancy stood up.
"I must duck your coffee, Senator," he said
cheerfully. "Is Miss Craik on the phone?"
"No. She is poor, and lives alone or, to be
correct, with a niece, I believe. ' '
"Well, think matters over. I'll see you again
soon. Then you may be able to tell me some
"I have told you everything."
"Perhaps 7 may do the telling."
"Now, as to this poor woman, Miss Craik.
You will not adopt harsh measures, I trust?"
"We are never harsh, Senator. If she speaks
the truth, and all the truth, she need not fear."
In the hall Clancy met the valet, carrying a
"Do you make good coffee, Phillips'?" he
"I try to," smiled the other.
"Ah, that's modest that's the way real
genius speaks. Sorry I can't sample your brew
^to-day. So few Englishmen know the first
thing about coffee."
BROTHER RALPH 75
"Nice, friendly little chap," was Phillips 's
opinion of the detective. Senator Meikle John's
description of the same person was widely dif-
ferent. When Clancy went out, he, too, rose and
stretched his stiff limbs.
"I got rid of that little rat more easily than
I expected," he mused that is to say, the Sen-
ator's thoughts may be estimated in some such
phrase. But he was grievously mistaken in his
belief. Clancy was no rat, but a most stubborn
terrier when there were rats around.
While Meiklejohn was drinking his coffee the
telephone rang. It was Mrs. Tower. She was
heartbroken, or professed to be, since no more
selfish woman existed in New York.
"Are you coming to see me!" she wailed.
"Yes, yes, later in the day. At present I
dare not. I am too unhinged. Oh, Helen, what
a tragedy! Have you any news?"
"News! My God! What news can I hope for
except that Ronald's poor, maimed body has
"Helen, this is terrible. Bear up!"
"I'm doing my best. I can hardly believe
that this thing has really happened. Help me
in one small way, Senator. Telephone Mr.
Jacob and explain why our luncheon is post-
"Yes, I'll do that."
Meiklejohn smiled grimly as he hung up the
76 THE BAETLETT MYSTERY
receiver. In the midst of her tribulations
Helen Tower had not forgotten Jacob and the
little business of the Costa Rica Cotton Conces-
sion! The luncheon was only "postponed."
An inquiry came from a newspaper, where-
upon he gave a curt order that no more calls
were to be made that day, as the apartment
would be empty. He dressed, and devoted him-
self forthwith to the task of overhauling papers.
He had a fire kindled in the library.
Hour after hour he worked, until the grate
was littered with the ashes of destroyed docu-
ments. Sending for newspapers, he read
of Rachel Craik's arrest. At last, when the
light waned, he looked at his watch. Should he
not face his fellow-members at the Four Hun-
dred Club I Would it not betray weakness to
shirk the ordeal of inquiry, of friendly scrutiny
and half-spoken wonder that he, the irreproach-
able, should be mixed up in such a weird
tragedy. Once he sought support from a decan-
ter of brandy.
' 'Confound it!" he muttered, "why am I so
shaky. I didn't murder Tower. My whole life
may be ruined by one false step!"
He was still pondering irresolutely a visit to
the club when Phillips came. The valet seemed
"There's a gentleman outside, sir, who
insists on seeing you," he said nervously.
BROTHER RALPH 77
"He's a very violent gentleman, sir. He said
if I didn't announce him he "
"What name!" interrupted Meiklejohn.
"Name of Voles, sir."
"Yes, sir, but he says you'll recognize him
better by the initials R. V. V."
Men of Meikle John's physique big, fleshy,
with the stamp of success on them are rare
subjects for nervous attacks. They seem to
defy events which will shock the color out of
ordinary men's cheeks, yet Meikle John felt that
if he dared encounter the eyes of his discreet
servant he would do something outrageous
shriek, or jump, or tear his hair. He bent over
some papers on the table.
"Send Mr. Voles in," he murmured. "If any
other person calls, say I'm engaged."
The man who was ushered into the room was
of a stature and demeanor which might well
have cowed the valet. Tall, strongly built, alto-
gether fitter and more muscular than the stal-
wart Senator, he carried with him an impres-
sion of truculence, of a savage forcefulness, not
often clothed in the staid garments of city life.
Were his skin bronze, were he decked in the bar-
baric trappings of a Pawnee chief, his appear-
ance would be more in accord with the chill and
repellant significance of his personality. His
square, hard features might have been chiseled
out of granite. A pair of singularly dark eyes
blazed beneath heavy and prominent eyebrows.
A high forehead, a massive chin, and a well-
shaped nose lent a certain intellectuality to the
face, but this attribute was negatived by the
coarse lines of a brutal mouth.
From any point of view the visitor must
invite attention, while compelling dislike even
fear. In a smaller frame, such qualities might
escape recognition, but this man's giant phy-
sique accentuated the evil aspect of eyes and
mouth. Hardly waiting till the door was closed,
he laughed sarcastically.
"You are well fixed here, brother o' mine,"
The man whom he addressed as "brother"
leaned with his hands on the table that sepa-
rated them. His face \vas quite ghastly. All
his self-control seemed to have deserted him.
"You?" he gasped. "To come here! Are
"Need you ask? It will not be the first time
you have called me a lunatic, nor will it be the
last, I reckon."
"But the risk, the infernal risk! The police
know of you. Rachel is arrested. A detective
was here a few hours ago. They are probably
"Bosh!" was the uncompromising answer.
"Fm sick of being hunted. Just for a change
BROTHER RALPH 79
I turn hunter. Where 's the mazuma you prom-
Meiklejohn, using a hand like one in a palsy,
produced a pocketbook and took from it a bun-
dle of notes.
"Here!" he quavered. "Now, for Heaven's
"Just the same old William," cried the
stranger, seating himself unceremoniously.
"Always ready to do a steal, but terrified lest
the law should grab him. No, I'm not going.
It will be good nerve tonic for you to sit down
and talk while you strain your ears to hear the
tramp of half a dozen cops in the hall. What a
poor fish you are!" he continued, voice and
manner revealing a candid contempt, as Meik-
lejohn did indeed start at the slamming of a
door somewhere in the building. "Do you think
I'd risk my neck if I were likely to be pinched?
Gad ! I know my way around too well for that."
"But you don't understand," whispered the
other in mortal terror. "By some means the
detective bureau may know of your existence.
Rachel promised to be close-lipped, but
1 ' Oh, take a bracer out of that decanter. At
the present moment I am registered in a big
Fifth Avenue hotel, a swell joint which they
wouldn't suspect in twenty years."
' * How can that be T Rachel said you were in
80 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
"So I was until I went through that idiot's
pockets. He had two hundred dollars in bills
and chicken-feed. I knew I'd get another wad
from you to-night."
"Why did you want to murder me, Ralph?'*
"Murder! Oh, shucks! I didn't want to kill
anybody. But I don't trust you, William. I'm
always expecting you to double-cross me. Last
night it was a lasso. To-night it is this." And
he suddenly whipped out a revolver.
STILL MERE MYSTERY
MEIKLEJOHN pushed his chair back so quickly
that it caught the fender and brought down
some fire-irons with a crash.
"More nerves!" croaked his grim-visaged
relative, but the revolver disappeared.
"Tell me," said the tortured Meiklejohn;
"why have you returned to New York? Above
all, why did you straightway commit a crime
that cannot fail to stir the whole country?"
"That's better. You are showing some sort
of brotherly interest. I came back because I
was sick of mining camps and boundless sier-
ras. I had a hankering after the old life the
theaters, dinners, race-meetings, wine and
women. As to 'the crime,' I thought that fool
was you. He called for the cops."
"For the police! Why?"
"Because my line of talk was a trifle too
rough, I suppose."
"Did he know you were there to meet me?"
"Can't say. The whole thing was over like
a flash. I am quick on the trigger."
82 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
"But if you had killed me what other goose
would lay golden eggs?"
"You forget that the goose was unwilling to
lay any more eggs. I only meant scaring you.
To haul you neck and crop into the river was
a good scheme. You see, we haven't met for
"Then why why murder Eonald Tower?"
"There you go again. Murder! How you
chew on the \vord. I never touched the man,
only to haul him into the boat and go through
his pockets. I guess he had a weak heart, due
to over-eating, and the cold water upset him."
"But you left him in the river?"
"Wrong every time. I chucked him into a
barge and covered him tenderly with a tarpau-
Meiklejohn sprang upright. "Good God,"
he cried, "he may be alive!"
"Sit down, William, sit down," was the cool
response. "If he's alive, he'll turn up. In any
case, he'll be found sooner or later. Shout the
glad news now and you go straight to the
This was obviously so true that the Senator
collapsed into his chair again, and in so doing
disturbed the fire-irons a second time.
The incident amused the unbidden guest. "I
see you won't be happy till I leave you," he
laughed, "so let's go on with the knitting. That
STILL MERE MYSTERY 83
girl she is becoming a woman what is to be
done with her?"
"Bachel takes every care "
" Rachel is excellent in her way. But she is
growing old. She may die. The girl is the
living image of her mother. It's a queer world,
and a small one at times. For instance, who
would have expected your double to walk onto
the terrace at the landing-stage at nine o'clock
precisely last night! Well, some one may rec-
ognize the likeness. Inquiries might be insti-
tuted. That would be very awkward for
"Far more awkward for you."
"Not a bit of it. I've lived with my neck in
the loop for eighteen years. I'm getting used
to it. But you, William, with your Senatorship
and high record in Wall Street really the
downfall would be terrible!"
"What can we do with her? Murder her, as
"The devil take you and your parrotlike rep-
etition of one word!" roared brother Ralph,
bringing his clenched fist down on the table
with a bang. "I never laid violent hands on a
woman yet, whatever I may have done to men.
Who has reaped the reward of my misdeeds,
I'd like to know I, an outcast and a wanderer,
or you, living here like Lord Tomnoddy? None
of your preaching to me, you smug Pharisee!
84 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
We're six of one and half a dozen of the
When this self-proclaimed adventurer was
really aroused he dropped the rough argot of
the plains. His diction showed even some
measure of culture.
Meiklejohn walked unsteadily to the door.
He opened it. There was no one in the passage
"I'm sorry," he said in a strangely subdued
voice. "What do you want? What do you sug-
"This," came the instant reply. "It was a
piece of folly on Rachel's part to educate the
girl the way she did. You stopped the process
too late. In a year or two Miss Winifred will
begin to think and ask questions, if she hasn't
done so already. She must leave the East
better quit America altogether."
"Very well. When this affair of Tower's
blows over I'll arrange it."
The other man seemed to be somewhat mol-
lified. He lighted a cigarette. "That rope
play was sure a mad trick," he conceded sul-
lenly, "but I thought you were putting the cops
on my trail."
A bell rang and the Senator started. Many
callers, mostly reporters, had been turned away
by Phillips already that day, but brother
Ralph's untimely visit had made the position
STILL MERE MYSTERY 85
peculiarly dangerous. Moreover, the valet's
protests had proved unavailing this time. The
two heard his approaching footsteps.
Meiklejohn's care-worn face turned almost
green with fright, and even his hardier com-
panion yielded to a sense of peril. He leaped
up, moving catlike on his toes.
" Where does that door lead to!" he hissed,
"A bedroom. But I've given orders "
"You dough-faced dub, don't you see you
create suspicion by refusing to meet people?
And, listen! If this is a cop, bluff hard! I'll
shoot up the whole Bureau before they get
He vanished, moving with a silence and celer-
ity that were almost uncanny in so huge a
man. Phillips knocked and thrust his head in.
He looked scared yet profoundly relieved.
"Mr. Tower to see you, sir," he said breath-
"What?" shrieked the Senator in a shrill
"Yes, sir. It's Mr. Tower himself, sir."
"H'lo, Bill!" came a familiar voice. "Here
I am ! No spook yet, thank goodness ! ' '
Meiklejohn literally staggered to the door
and nearly fell into Ronald Tower's arms. Of
the two men, the Senator seemed nearer death
at that moment. He blubbered something in-
86 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
coherent, and had to be assisted to a chair.
Even Tower was astonished at the evident
depth of his friend's emotion.
"Cheer up, old sport!" he cried affection-
ately. "I had no notion you felt so badly about
my untimety end, as the newspapers call it. I
tried to get you on the phone, but you were
closed down, the exchange said, so Helen
packed me off here when she was able to sit
up and take nourishment. Gad I Even my wife
seems to have missed mel"
Many minutes elapsed before Senator Meik-
le John's benumbed brain could assimilate the
facts of a truly extraordinary story. Tower,
after being whisked so unceremoniously into
the Hudson, remembered nothing further until
he opened his eyes in numb semi-consciousness
in the cubbyhole of a tug plodding through the
long Atlantic rollers off the New Jersey coast.
When able to talk he learned that the captain
of the tug Cygnet, having received orders to
tow three loaded barges from a Weehawken
pier to Barnegat City, picked up his "job" at
nine-thirty the previous night, and dropped
down the river with the tide. In the early
morning he was amazed by the sight of a man
crawling from under the heavy tarpaulin that
sheeted one of the barges a man so dazed and
weak that he nearly fell into the sea.
"Cap' Kickards slowed up and took me
'STILL MERE MYSTERY 87
aboard," explained Tower volubly. "Then he
filled me with rock and rye and packed nie in
blankets. Gee, how they smelt, but how grate-
ful they were ! What between prime old whis-
key inside and greasy wool outside I dodged
a probable attack of pneumonia. When the
Cygnet tied up at Barnegat at noon to-day I
was fit as a fiddle. Cap' Rickards rigged me
out in his shore-going suit and lent me twenty
dollars, as that pair of blackguards in the
launch had robbed me of every cent. They
even took a crooked sixpence I found in Lon-
don twenty years ago, darn 'em! I phoned
Helen, of course, but didn't realize what a hub-
bub my sad fate had created until I read a
newspaper in the train. When I reached home
poor Helen was so out of gear that she hadn't
told a soul of my escape. I do believe she
hardly accepted my own assurance that I was
still on the map. However, when I got her
calmed down a bit, she remembered you and
the rest of the excitement, so I phoned the
detective bureau and the club, and came
"That is very good of you, Tower," mur-
mured Meiklejohn brokenly. He looked in far
worse plight than the man who had survived
such a desperate adventure.
"Well, my dear chap, I was naturally anx-
ious to see you, because but perhaps you don't
88 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
know that those scoundrels meant to attack you,
Meiklejolm smiled wanly. * ' Oh, yes, ' ' he said.
''The police found that out by some means. I
believe the authorities actually suspected me of
being concerned in the affair."
Tower laughed boisterously. "That's the
limit!" he roared. "Come with me to the club.
We'll soon spoil that yarn. What a fuss the
papers made ! I 'm quite a celebrity. ' '
"I'll follow you in half an hour. And, look
here, Tower, this matter did really affect me.
There was a woman in the case. I butted into
an old feud merely as a friend. I think matters
will now be settled amicably. Allow me to make
good your loss in every way. If you can per-
suade the police that the whole thing was a
For the first time Tower looked non-plussed.
He was enjoying the notoriety thrust on him
1 ' Well, I can hardly do that, ' ' he said. "But
if I can get them to drop further inquiries I'll
do it, Meiklejohn, for your sake. Gee-! Come
to look at you, you must have had a bad time.
. . . Well, good-by, old top! See you later.
Suppose we dine together? That will help dis-
sipate this queer story as to you being mixed up
in an attack on me. Now, I must be off and play
ghost in the club smoking-room."
STILL MERE MYSTERY 89
Meiklejobn heard his fluttering man-servant
let Tower out. He tottered to a chair, and Ralph
Voles came in noiselessly.
"Well, what about it?" chuckled the repro-
bate. "We seem to have struck it lucky."
"Go away!" snarled the Senator, goaded to
a sudden rage by the other man 's cynical humor.
"I can stand no more to-day."
"Oh, take a pull at this !" And the decanter
was pushed across the table. " Didn't Dr. John-
son once say that claret is the liquor for boys,
port for men, but he who aspires to be a hero
should drink brandy? And you must be a hero
to-night. Get onto the Bureau and use the soft
pedal. Then beat it to the club. You and Tov.or
ought to be well soused in an hour. He 's a good
sport, all right. I'll mail him that sixpence if
it 's still in my pants. ' '
"Do nothing of the sort!" snapped Meikle-
john. "You're "
"Ah, cut it out! Tower wants plenty to talk
about. His crooked sixpence will fill many an
eye, and the more he spiels tLe better it is for
you. Gee, but you're yellow for a two-hundred
pounder ! Now, listen ! Make those cops drop
all charges against Rachel. Then, in a week or
less, I'll come along and fix things about the
girl. She's the fly in the amber now. Mind
she doesn't get out, or the howl about Mr. Ron-
ald Tower's trip to Barnegat won't amount to
90 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
a row of beans against the trouble pretty Wini-
fred can give you. Dios! It's a pity. She's a
real beauty, and that's more than any one can
say for you, Brother William."
"You go to"
" That's better! You're reviving. Well,
good-by, Senator! Au revoir sans adieux!"
The big man swaggered out. Meiklejohn
drank no spirits. He needed a clear brain that
evening. After deep self-communing he rang up
police headquarters and inquired for Mr.
"Mr. Clancy is out," he was told by some
one with a strong, resonant voice. "Anything
we can do, Senator?"
"About that poor woman, Eachel Craik "
"Oh, she's all right ! She gave us a farewell
smile two hours ago."
"You mean she is at liberty?"
"May I ask to whom I am speaking 1 ?"
"Steingall, Chief of the Bureau."
"This wretched affair it's merely a family
squabble between Miss Craik and a relative
might well end now, Mr. Steingall."
"That is for Mr. Tower and Mr. Van Hofen
"Yes, I quite understand. I have seen Mr.
Tower, and he shares my opinion."
STILL MERE MYSTERY 9i
so, Senator. At any rate, the yacht
mystery is almost cleared up."
"I agree with you most heartily."
For the first time in nearly twenty-four hours
Senator Meiklejohn looked contented with life
when he hung up the receiver. Therefore, it
was well for his peace of mind that he could not
hear Steingall's silent comment as he, in turn,
disconnected the phone.
' 'That old fox agreed with me too heartily,"
he thought. "The yacht mystery is only just
beginning or I'm a Dutchman!"
THE DBEAM FACE
THAT evening of her dismissal from Brown's,
and her meeting with Rex Carshaw, Winifred
opened the door of the dun house in One Hun-
dred and Twelfth Street the most downhearted
girl in New York. Suddenly, mystery had gath-
ered round her. Something threatened, she
knew not what. When the door slammed behind
her her heart sank she was alone not only in
the house, but in the world. This thought pos-
sessed her utterly when the excitement caused
by Carshaw and Fowle, and their speedy arrest,
That her aunt, the humdrum Rachel Craik,
should have any sort of connection with the mur-
der of Ronald Tower, of which Winifred had
chanced first to hear on Riverside Drive that
morning, seemed the wildest nonsense. Then
Winifred was overwhelmed afresh, and breathed
to herself, "I must be dreaming!"
And yet the house was empty! Her aunt
was not there her aunt was held as a criminal !
It was not a dream, but only like one, a waking
nightmare far more terrifying. Most of the
THE DREAM FACE 93
rooms in the house had nothing but dust in them.
Kachel Craik had preferred to live as solitary in
teeming Manhattan as a castaway on a rock in
the midst of the sea.
Winifred's mind was accustomed now to the
thought of that solitude shared by two. This
night, when there were no longer two, but only
one, the question arose strongly in her mind
why had there never been more than two ? Cer-
tainly her aunt was not rich, and might well
have let some of the rooms. Yet, even the sug-
gestion of such a thing had made Eachel Craik
angry. This, for the first time, struck Winifred
as odd. Everything was puzzling, and all sorts
of doubts peeped up in her, like ghosts question-
ing her with their eyes in the dark.
When the storm of tears had spent its force
she had just enough interest in her usual self
to lay the table and make ready a meal, but not
enough interest to eat it. She sat by a window
of her bedroom, her hat still on her head, look-
ing down. The street lamps were lit. It grew
darker and darker. Down there below feet
passed and repassed in multitudes, like drops of
the eternal cataract of life.
Winifred's eyes rested often on the spot
where Rex Carshaw had spoken to her and had
knocked down Fowle, her tormentor. In hours
of trouble, when the mind is stunned, it will
often go off into musings on trivial things. So
this young girl, sitting at the window of the
dark and empty house, let her thoughts wander
to her rescuer. He was well built, and poised
like an athlete. He had a quick step, a quick
way of talking, was used to command ; his brow
was square, and could threaten; he had the
deepest blue eyes, and glossy brown hair; he
was a tower of strength to protect a girl; and
his wife, if he had one, must have a feeling of
safety. Thoughts, or half-thoughts, like these
passed through her mind. She had never before
met any young man of Carshaw's type.
It became ten o 'clock. She was tired after the
day's work and trouble of mind. The blow of
her dismissal, the fright of her interview with
the police, the arrest of her aunt all this sud-
den influx of mystery and care formed a burden
from which there was no escape for exhausted
nature but in sleep. Her eyes grew weary at
last, and, getting up, she discarded her hat and
some of her clothes; then threw herself on
the bed, still half-dressed, and was soon
The hours of darkness rolled on. That tramp
of feet in the street grew thin and scattered, as
if the army of life had undergone a repulse.
Then there was a rally, when the theaters and
picture-houses poured out their crowds; but it
was short, the powers of night were in the as-
cendant, and soon the last stragglers retreated
THE DREAM FACE 95
under cover. Of all this Winifred heard noth-
ing she slept soundly.
But was it in a dream, that voice which she
heard? Something somewhere seemed to whis-
per, "She must be taken out of New York
she is the image of her mother."
It was a hushed, grim voice.
The room, the whole house, had been in dark-
ness when she had thrown herself on the bed.
But, somewhere, had she not been conscious of
a light at some moment? Had she dreamed this,
or had she seen it? She sat up in bed, staring
and startled. The room was in darkness. In
her ears were the words: "She is the image of
She had heard them in some world, she did
not know in which. She listened with the keen
ears of fear. Not a wagon nor a taxi any longer
moved in the street; no step passed; the house
But after a long ten minutes the darkness
seemed to become pregnant with a sound, a
steady murmur. It was as if it came from far
away, as if a brook had spurted out of the
granite of Manhattan, and was even more like
a dream-sound than those words which still buz-
zed in Winifred's ear. Somehow, that murmur
as of water in the night made Winifred think
of a face, one which, as far as she could remem-
ber, she had never consciously seen a man's
face, brown, hard, and menacing, which had
looked once into her eyes in some state of semi-
conscious being, and then had vanished. And
now this question arose in her mind : was it not
that face, hard and brown, which she had never
seen, and yet once had seen were not those the
cruel lips which somewhere had whispered:
"She is the image of her mother?"
Winifred, sitting up in bed, listened to the
steady, dull murmuring a long time, till there
came a moment when she said definitely: "It
is in the house."
For, as her ears grew accustomed to its tone,
it seemed to lose some of its remoteness, to be-
come more local and earthly. Presently this
sound which the darkness was giving out be-
came the voices of people talking in subdued
undertones not far off. Nor was it long before
the murmur was broken by a word sharply ut-
tered and clearly heard by her -a gruff and un-
mistakable oath. She started with fright at
this, it sounded so near. She was certain now
that there were others in the house with her.
She had gone to bed alone. Waking up in the
dead of the small hours to find men or ghosts
with her, her heart beat horribly.
But ghosts do not swear at least such was
Winifred's ideal of the spirit world. And she
was brave. Nerving herself for the ordeal, she
found the courage to steal out of bed and make
THE DREAM FACE 97
her way out of the room into a passage, and she
had not stood there listening two minutes when
she was able to be certain that the murmur was
going on in a back room.
How earnest that talk was how low in pitch !
It could hardly be burglars there, for burglars
do not enter a house in order to lay their heads
together in long conferences. It could not be
ghosts, for a light came out under the rim of the
After a time Winifred stole forward, tapped
on a panel, and her heart jumped into her mouth
as she lifted her voice, saying:
" Aunty, is it you?"
There was silence at this, as though they had
been ghosts, indeed, and had taken to flight at
the breath of the living.
" Speak! Who is it?" cried Winifred with
a fearful shrillness now. A chair grated on
the floor inside, hurried steps were heard, a key
turned, the door opened a very little, and Wini-
fred saw the gaunt face of Rachel Craik look-
ing dourly at her, for she had frightened this
masterful woman very thoroughly.
"Oh, aunt, it is you!" gasped Winifred with
a flutter of relief.
"You are to go to bed, Winnie," said Rachel.
"It is you! They have let you out, then?"
"Tell me what happened; let me come in "
"Go back to bed; there's a good girl. I'll
tell you everything in the morning."
"Oh, but I am glad! I was so lonely and
frightened! Aunt, what was it all about?"
"About nothing; as far as I can discover,"
said Eachel Craik "a mere mare's-nest found
by a set of stupid police. Some man a Mr.
Ronald Tower was supposed to have been mur-
dered, and I was supposed to have some con-
nection with it, though I had never seen the
creature in my life. Now the man has turned
up safe and sound, and the pack of noodles have
at last thought fit to allow a respectable woman
to come home to her bed."
"Oh, how good! Thank heaven! But, you
have some one in there with you?"
' l In here where ? ' '
"Why, in the room, aunt."
"I? No, no one."
"I am sure I heard
"Now, really, you must go to bed, Winifred!
What are you doing awake at this hour of the
morning, roaming about the house? You were
asleep half an hour ago
"Oh, then, it was your light I saw in my sleep !
I thought I heard a man say: 'She is the
image ' "
"Just think of troubling me with your dreams
at this unearthly hour! I'm tired, child; go to
THE DREAM FACE 99
"Yes but, aunt, this day's work has cost me
my situation. I am dismissed!"
"Well, a holiday will do you good."
"Good gracious you take it coolly!"
"Go to bed."
A sudden din of tumbling weights and splint-
ering wood broke out behind the half-open door.
For, within the room a man had been sitting on
a chair tilted back on its two hind legs. The
chair was old and slender, the man huge; and
one of the chair-legs had collapsed under the
weight and landed the man on the floor.
"Oh, aunt! didn't you say that no one "
The sentence was never finished. Rachel
Craik, her features twisted in anger, pushed the
young girl with a force which sent her stagger-
ing, and then immediately shut the door. Wini-
fred was left outside in the darkness.
She returned to her bed, but not to sleep. It
was certain that her aunt had lied to her there
was more in the air than Winifred's quick wits
could fathom. The fact of Rachel Craik 's re-
lease did not clear up the mystery of the fact
that she had been arrested. Winifred lay, spur-
ring her fancy to account for all that puzzled
her ; and underlying her thoughts was the man's
face and those strange words which she had
heard somewhere on the borders of sleep.
She fancied she had seen the man somewhere
100 TEE BARTLETT MYSTERY
before. At last she recalled the occasion, and
almost laughed at the conceit. It was a picture
of Sitting Bull, and that eminent warrior had
long since gone to the happy hunting-grounds.
Meantime, the murmur of voices in the back
room had recommenced and was going on.
Then, towards morning, Winifred became aware
that the murmur had stopped, and soon after-
ward she heard the click of the lock of the front
door and a foot going down the front steps.
Rising quickly, she crept to the window and
looked out. Going from the door down the ut-
terly empty street she saw a man, a big swag-
gerer, with something of the over-seas and the
adventurer in his air. It was Ralph "Voles,"
the "brother" of Senator William Meiklejohn.
But Winifred could not distinguish his features,
or she might have recognized the man she had
seen in her half-dreams, and who had said : * * She
must be taken out of New York she is the im-
age of her mother."
Voles had hardly quitted the place before a
street-car conductor, who had taken temporary
lodgings the previous evening in a house oppo-
site, hurried out into the coldness of the hour
before dawn. He seemed pleased at the neces-
sity of going to work thus early.
* ' Oh, boy ! " he said softly. "Fin glad there 's
somethin' doin' at last. I was getting that
sleepy. I could hardly keep me eyes open!"
THE DREAM FACE 101
When Detective Clancy came to the Bureau
a few hours later he found a memorandum to
the effect that a Mr. Ralph V. Voles, of Chicago,
stopping at a high-grade hotel in Fifth Avenue,
had dined with Rachel Craik in a quiet restaur-
ant, had parted from her, and met her again,
evidently by appointment. The two had entered
the house in One Hundred and Twelfth Street
separately shortly before midnight, and Voles
returned to his hotel at four o'clock in the morn-
Clancy shook his head waggishly.
" Who'd have thought it of you, Rachel?" he
cackled. " And, now that I've seen you, what sort
of weird specimen can Mr. Ralph V. Voles, of
Chicago, be I I '11 look him up ! "
CARSHAW and Fowle enjoyed, let us say, a
short but almost triumphal march to the nearest
police-station. Their escort of loafers and small
boys grew quickly in numbers and enthusiasm.
It became known that the arrest was made in
East One Hundred and Twelfth Street, and that
street had suddenly become famous. The lively^
inhabitants of the East Side do not bother their
heads about grammatical niceties, so the gulf be-
tween "the yacht murder" and "the yacht mur-
derers" was easily bridged. The connection
was clear. Two men in a boat, and two men in
the grip of the law! It needed only Fowle 's
ensanguined visage to complete the circle of
reasoning. Consciousness of this ill-omened
popularity infuriated Carshaw and alarmed
Fowle. When they arrived at the precinct sta-
tion-house each was inclined to wish he had
never seen or heard of Winifred Bartlett !
Their treatment by the official in charge only
added fuel to the flame. The patrolman ex-
plained that "these two were fighting about the
THE FLIGHT 103
girl who lives in that house in East One Hun-
dred and Twelfth," and this vague statement
seemed all-sufficient. The sergeant entered
their names and addresses. He went to the
telephone and came back.
' ' Sit there ! " he said authoritatively, and they
sat there, Carshaw trying to take an interest in
a "drunk" who was brought in, and Fowle al-
ternately feeling the sore lump at the back of his
head and the sorer cartilage of his nose. After
waiting half an hour Carshaw protested, but the
sergeant assured him that "a man from the
Bureau" was en route and would appear pres-
ently. -At last Clancy came in. That, is why
he was "out" when Senator Meiklejohn in-
quired for him.
"H'lo!" he cried when he set eyes on Fowle.
"My foreman bookbinder! Your folio looks
somewhat battered ! ' '
"Glad it's you, Mr. Clancy," snuffled Fowle.
"You can tell these cops "
"Suppose you tell me," broke in the detec-
tive, with a glance at Carshaw.
"Yes, Fowle, speak up," said Carshaw.
"You've a ready tongue. Explain your fall
"There's nothing to it," growled Fowle.
"I know the girl, an' asked her to come with
me this evening. She'd been fired by the firm,
104 TEE BARTLETT MYSTERY
"Ah! Who fired her!" Clancy's inquiry
sounded most matter-of-fact.
"The boss, of course."
"Well this newspaper stuff. He didn't like
"He told you so?"
"Yes. That is the department is a bit
crowded. He er asked me Well, we reck-
oned we could do without her."
"I see. Go on."
"So I just came up-town, meanin' to talk
things over, an' find her a new job, but she took
it all wrong."
Clancy whirled around on Carshaw. Ev-
idently he had heard enough from Fowle.
"And you?" he snapped.
"I know nothing of either party," was the
calm answer. ' ' I couldn 't help overhearing this
fellow insulting a lady, so put him where he
belongs in the gutter."
"Mr. Clancy," interrupted the sergeant,
"you're wanted on the phone."
The detective was detained a good five min-
utes. When he returned he walked straight up
"Quit!" he said, with a scornful and side-
long jerk of the head. "You got what you
wanted. Get out, and leave Miss Bartlett alone
in the future."
THE FLIGHT 105
Fowle needed no second bidding.
"As for me?" inquired Carshaw, with arched
"May I drop you in Madison Avenue?" said
Clancy. Once the police car was speeding down-
town he grew chatty.
"Wish I had seen you trimming Fowle," he
said pleasantly. "I've a notion he had a finger
in the pie of Winifred Bartlett's dismissal."
"It may be."
Carshaw 's tone was indifferent. Just then
he was aware only of a very definite resentment.
His mother would be waiting for dinner, and
alarmed, like all mothers who own motoring
sons. The detective looked surprised, but made
his point, for all that.
"I suppose you'll be meeting that very charm-
ing young lady again one of these days," he
"I? Why? Most unlikely."
"Not so. Do you floor every man you see
annoying a woman in the streets?"
"Well er "
"Just so. Winifred interested you. She in-
terests me. I mean to keep an eye on her, a
friendly eye. If you and she come together
again, let me know."
"No wonder you are ready with a punch.
You won't let a man speak. Listen, now. The
106 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
patrolman held you and Fowle because he had
orders to arrest, on any pretext or none, any
one who seemed to have the remotest connec-
tion with the house in One Hundred and
Twelfth Street, where Winifred Bartlett lives
with her aunt. You've read of the Yacht Mys-
tery and the lassoing of Ronald Tower?"
"Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Tower are my close
"Exactly. Now, Rachel Craik, Winifred's
aunt, was released from custody an hour ago.
She would have been charged with complicity
in the supposed murder of Tower. I say 'sup-
posed' because there was no murder. Mr.
Tower has returned home, safe and sound "
"By Jove, that's good news! But what a
strange business it is! My mother was with
Helen Tower this morning, trying to console
"Good ! Now, perhaps, you'll sit up and take
notice. The truth is that the mystery of this
outrage on Tower is not cannot be of recent
origin. I'm sure it is bound up with some long-
forgotten occurrence, possibly a crime, in which
the secret of the birth and parentage of Wini-
fred Bartlett is involved. That girl is no more
the niece of her 'aunt' than I am her nephew."
"But one is usually the niece of one's aunt."
"I think you need a cigarette," said Clancy
dryly. "Organisms accustomed to poisonous
THE FLIGHT 107
stimulants often wilt when deprived too sud-
denly of such harmful tonics. 7 '
Carshaw edged around slightly and looked at
this quaint detective.
"I apologize," he said contritely. "But the
crowd got my goat when it jeered at me as a
murderer. And the long wait was annoying,
Clancy, however, was not accustomed to hav-
ing his confidences slighted. He was ruffled.
"Perhaps what I was going to say is hardly
worth while," he snapped. "It was this. If,
by chance, your acquaintance with Winifred
Bartlett goes beyond to-day's meeting, and you
learn anything of her life and history which
sounds strange in your ears, you may be ren-
dering her a far greater service than by flatten-
ing Fowle's nose if you bring your knowledge
straight to the Bureau."
"I'll not forget, Mr. Clancy. But let me
explain. It will be a miracle if I meet Miss
"It'll be a miracle if you don't," retorted
So there was a passing whiff of misunder-
standing between these two, and, like every
other trivial phase of a strange record, it was
destined to bulk large in the imminent hazards
threatening one lone girl. Thus, Clancy ceased
being communicative. He might have referred
guardedly to Senator Meiklejohn. But he did
not. Oddly enough, his temperament was sin-
gularly alike to Carshaw's, and that is why
The heart, however, is deceitful, and Fate is
stronger than an irritated young man whose
conventional ideals have been besmirched by
being marched through the streets in custody.
The garage in which Carshaw's automobile was
housed temporarily was located near One Hun-
dred and Twelfth Street. He went there on the
following afternoon to see the machine stripped
and find out the exact extent of the damage.
Yet he passed Winifred's house resolutely,
without even looking at it. He returned that
way at half past six, and there, on the corner,
was posted Fowle Fowle, with a swollen nose !
There also was their special patrolman, with
an eye for both !
The mere sight of Fowle prowling in unwhole-
some quest stirred up wrath in Carshaw's
mind; and the heart, always subtle and self-
deceiving, whispered elatedly: "Here you have
an excuse for renewing an acquaintance which
you wished to make yourself believe you did not
care to renew."
He walked straight to the door of the brown-
stone house and rang. Then he rapped. There
was no answer. "When he had rapped a second
time he walked away, but he had not gone far
THE FLIGHT 109
when he was almost startled to find himself
face to face with Winifred coming home from
making some purchases, with a bag on her arm.
He lifted his hat. Winifred, with a vivid
blush, hesitated and stopped. Prom the corner
Fowle stared at the meeting, and made up his
mind that it was really a rendezvous. The pa-
trolman thought so, too, but he had new orders
as to these two.
''Pardon me, Miss Bartlett," said Carshaw.
"Ah, you see I know your name better than
you know mine. Mine is Carshaw Rex Car-
shaw, if I may introduce myself. I have this
moment tapped at your door, in the hope of
"Why so?" asked Winifred.
"Do you wish to forget the incident of yes-
"No; hence my stopping to hear what you
have to say."
"Well, then, I am here to see to the repairing
of my car- not in the hope of seeing you, you
know" Carshaw said this with a twinkle in his
eye; "though, perhaps, if the truth were known,
a little in that hope, too. Then, there at the
corner, I find the very man who molested you
last night looking at your house, and this
spurred me to knock in order to ask a favor.
Was I wrong?"
"What favor, sir?"
110 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
"That, if ever you have the least cause to be
displeased with the conduct of that man in the
future, you will consider it as my business, and
as an insult offered to me as it will be after
the trouble of last night and that you will let
me know of the matter by letter. Here is my
Winifred hesitated, then took the proffered
"But" she faltered.
' 'No; promise me that. It really is my busi-
ness now, you know."
"I cannot write to you. I don't know
"Then I shall only have to stand sentinel a
certain number of hours every day before
your house, to see that all goes well. You can't
prevent me doing that, can you? The streets
are free to everybody."
"You are only making fun."
"That I am not. See how stern and solemn
I look. I shall stand sentinel and gaze up at
your window on the chance of seeing your face.
Will you show yourself sometimes to comfort
"I'm sure you will."
"I'd better promise to write the letter "
"There now, that's a point for me!"
"Oh, don't make me laugh."
THE FLIGHT 111
"Point number two for you have been cry-
ing, Miss Winifred!"
"Yes, I'm sorry to say. Oh, I only wish "
"How do you know my name?"
"What, the 'Winifred' and the 'Bartlett?'
Winifred was always one of my favorite names
for a girl, and you look the name all through.
Well, Fowle and I were taken to the station-
house last night, and in the course of the in-
quiry I heard your name, of course."
"Did they do anything to you for knocking
down Mr. Fowle?"
"No, no. Of course, they didn't do anything
to me. In fact, they seemed rather pleased.
Were you anxious, then, about me?"
"I was naturally anxious, since it was I
"Ah, now, don't spoil it by giving a reason.
You were anxious, that is enough; let me be
proud, as a recompense. And now I want to
ask you two favors, one of them a great favor.
The first is to tell me all you know about this
Fowle. And the second why you look so sad
and have been crying. May we walk on a little
way together, and then you will tell me?"
They walked on together, and for a longer
time than either of them realized. Winifred
was rather bewitched. Carshaw was something
of a revelation to her in an elusive quality ol;
112 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
mind or mariner which she in her heart could
only call ''charming."
She spoke of life at Brown, Son & Brown's,
in Greenwich Village. She even revealed that
she had been crying because of dark clouds
which had gathered round her of a sudden,
doubts and fears for which she had no name,
and because of a sort of dream the previous
night in which she had seen a man's Indian
face, and heard a hushed, grim voice say : * * She
must be taken out of New York she is the im-
age of her mother."
"Ah! And your mother who and where is
she?" asked Carshaw.
"I don't know. I can't tell. I never knew
her," answered Winifred droopingly, with a
shake of her head.
"And as to your father?"
"I have no father. I have only my aunt."
"Winifred," said Carshaw solemnly, "will
you consider me your friend from this
"You are kind. I trust you," she murmured.
"A friend is a person who acts for another
with the same zeal as for himself, and who has
the privilege of doing whatever seems good to
him for that other. Am I to regard myself as
Winifred, who had never flirted with any
young man in her life, fancied she knew nothing
TEE FLIGHT 113
about the rules of the game. She was confused.
She veiled her eyes.
"I don't know perhaps we shall see," she
stammered. Which was not so bad for a novice.
They parted with a warm hand-shake. Ten
minutes later Carshaw was in a telephone booth
with Clancy's ear at the other end of the wire.
"I have just had a chat with Miss Bartlett,"
"Tut, tut! How passing strange!' 7 cackled
the detective.. ' ' The merest chance in the world,
"Yes. The miracle came off, so you're en-
titled- to your gibe. But I have news for you.
It's about a dream and a face."
4 ' Gee ! Throw the picture on the screen, Mr.
Carshaw. ' '
Then Carshaw spoke, and Clancy listened and
bade him work more miracles, even though he
might have to report such phenomena to the
Psychical Research Society. Next morning
Carshaw, a hard man when offended, visited
Brown, Son & Brown, who had executed a large
rebinding order for his father's library, and
Fowle was speedily out of a job. The ex-fore-
man knew the source of his misfortune, and
In the evening, about half past six, Carshaw
was back in One Hundred and Twelfth Street.
There had been no promise of a meeting be-
tween him and Winifred no promise, but, by
those roundabout means by which people in
sympathy understand each other, it was per-
fectly well understood that they would happen
to meet again that night.
He waited in the street, but Winifred did not
appear. The brown-stone house was in total
darkness. An hour passed, and the waiting
was weary, for it was drizzling. But Carshaw
waited, being a persistent young man. At last,
after seven, a pang of fear shot through his
breast. He remembered the girl's curious ac-
count of the dream-man.
He determined to knock at the door, relying
on his wits to invent some excuse if any
stranger opened. But to his repeated loud
knockings there came no answer. The house
seemed abandoned. Winifred was gone ! Even
a friendly patrolman took pity on his drawn
face and drew near.
"No use, sir!" he confided. ''They've
skipped. But don't let on 7 told you. Call up
the Detective Bureau!"
CABSHAW TAKES UP THE CHASE .
"Busy, Mr. Carshaw ?" inquired some one
when an impatient young man got in touch with
Mulberry Street after an exasperating delay.
"Not too busy to try and defeat the scoun-
drels who are plotting against a defenseless
girl," he cried.
"Well, come down-town. We'll expect you
in half an hour."
"But, Mr. Clancy asked me "
"Better come," said the voice, and Carshaw,
though fuming, bowed to authority.
It is good for the idle rich that they should
be brought occasionally into sharp contact with
life's realities. During his twenty-seven years
Eex Carshaw had hardly ever known what it
meant to have a purpose balked. Luckily for
him, he was of good stock and had been well
The instinct of sport, fostered by triumphs
at Harvard, had developed an innate quality of
self-reliance and given him a physical hardi-
hood which revelled in conquest over difficulties.
Each winter, instead of lounging in flannels at
116 THE, BARTLETT MYSTERY
the Poinciana, lie was out with guides and
dogs in the Northwest after moose and
He preferred polo to tennis. He would rather
pass a fortnight in oilskins with the rough and
ready fisher-folk of the Maine coast than don
the white ducks and smart caps of his wealthy
yachting friends. In a word, society and riches
had not spoiled him. But he did like to have
his own way, and the suspicion that he might
be thwarted in his desire to help Winifred Bart-
lett cut him now like a sword. So he chafed
against the seeming slowness of the Subway,
and fuel was added to the fire when he was kept
waiting five minutes on arriving at police head-
He found Clancy closeted with a big man who
had just lighted a fat cigar, and this fact in
itself betokened official callousness as to Wini-
fred's fate. Hot words leaped from his lips.
"Why have you allowed Miss Bartlett to be
spirited away? Is there no law in this State,
nor any one who cares whether or not the law
is obeyed? She's gone taken by force. I'm
certain of it."
"And we also are certain of it, Mr. Car-
shaw," said Steingall placidly. "Sit down.
Do you smoke? You'll find these cigars in good
shape," and he pushed forward a box.
' * But, is nothing being done I ' ' Nevertheless,
CARSHAW TAKES UP THE CEASE 117
Carshaw sat down and took a cigar. He had
sufficient sense to see that bluster was useless
and only meant loss of dignity.
"Sure. That's why I asked you to come
"You see," put in Clancy, "you short-cir-
cuited the connections the night before last, so
we let you cool your heels in the rain this even-
ing. We want no 'first I will and then I won't'
helpers in this business."
Carshaw met those beady brown eyes stead-
ily. "I deserved that," he said. "Now, per-
haps, you'll forget a passing mood. I have
come to like Winifred."
Clancy stared suddenly at a clock.
"Tick, tick!" he said. "Eight fifteen. Norn
d'un pipe, now I understand."
For the first time the true explanation of
Senator Meiklejohn's covert glance at the clock
the previous morning had occurred to him.
That wily gentleman wanted Winifred out of
the house for her day's work before the police
interviewed Eachel Craik. He had fought hard
to gain even a few hours in the effort to hinder
"What's bitten you, Frog?" inquired the
Probably who knows? but there was some
reasonable likelihood that the Senator's name
might have reached Carshaw 's ears had not the
118 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
telephone bell jangled. Steingall picked up the
"Long-distance call. This is it, I guess,"
and his free hand enjoined silence. The talk
was brief and one-sided. Steingall smiled as
he replaced the instrument.
"Now, we're ready for you, Mr. Carshaw,"
he said, lolling back in his chair again. "The
Misses Craik and Bartlett have arrived for the
night at the Maples Inn, Fairfield, Connecticut.
Thanks to you, we knew that some one was
desperately anxious that Winifred should
leave New York. Thanks to you, too, she has
gone. Neither her aunt nor the other inter-
ested people cared to have her strolling in Cen-
tral Park with an eligible and fairly intelligent
bachelor like Mr. Rex Carshaw."
Carshaw's lips parted eagerly, but a gesture
"Yes. Of course, I know you're straining at
the leash, but please don't go off on false
trails. You never lose time casting about for
the true line. This is, the actual position of
affairs: A man known as Ralph V. Voles,
assisted by an amiable person named Mick the
Wolf he was so christened in Leadville,
where they sum up a tough accurately hauled
Mr. Ronald Tower into the river. For some
reason best known to himself, Mr. Tower treats
the matter rather as a joke, so the police can
CARS HAW TAKES UP THE CHASE 119
carry it no further. But Voles is associated
with Rachel Craik, and was in her house during
several hours on the night of the river incident
and the night following. It is almost safe to
assume that he counseled the girl's removal
from New York because she is 'the image of her
mother.' One asks why this very natural fact
should render Winifred Bartlett an undesirable
resident of New York. There is a ready
answer. She might be recognized. Such recog-
nition would be awkward for somebody. But
the girl has lived in almost total seclusion.
She is nineteen. If she is so like her mother as
to be recognized, her mother must have been a
person of no small consequence, a lady known
to and admired by a very large circle of
friends. The daughter of any other woman,
presumably long since dead, who was not of
social importance, could hardly be recognized.
You follow this ?"
"Perfectly." Carshaw was beginning to
remodel his opinion of the Bureau generally,
and of its easy-going, genial-looking chief in
"This fear of recognition, with its certain
consequc-nces," went on Steingall, pausing to
flick the ash off his cigar, "is the dominant fac-
tor in Winifred's career as directed by Rachel
Craik. This woman, swayed by some lingering
shreds of decent thought, had the child well
120 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
educated, but the instant she approaches matur-
ity, Winifred is set to earn a living in a book-
binding factory. Why? Social New York does
not visit wholesale trade houses, nor travel on
the elevated during rush hours. But it does go'
to the big stores and fashionable milliners
where a pretty, well proportioned girl can ob-
tain employment readily. Moreover, Rachel
Craik would never 'hear of the stage, though
Winifred can sing, and believes she could dance.
And how prompt recognition might be in a
theater. It all comes to this, Mr. Carshaw:
the Bureau's hands are tied, but it can and will
assist an outsider, whom it trusts, who means
rescuing Miss Bartlett from the exile which
threatens her. We have looked you over care-
fully, and think you are trustworthy
"The Lord help you if you're not !" broke in
Clancy. "I like the girl. It will be a bad day
for the man who works her evil."
Carshaw's eyes clashed with Clancy's, as
rapiers rasp in thrust and parry. From that
instant the two men became firm friends, for
the young millionaire said quietly:
"I have her promise to call for help on me,
first, Mr. Clancy."
"You'll follow her to Fairfield then?" and
Steingall sat up suddenly.
"Yes. Please advise me."
"That's the way to talk. I wish there was a
CARSHAW TAKES UP THE CHASE 121
heap more boys like you among the Four Hun-
dred. But I can't advise you. I'm an official.
Suppose, however, I were a young gentleman
of leisure who wanted to befriend a deserving
young lady in Winifred Bartlett's very pecu-
liar circumstances. I'd persuade her to leave
a highly undesirable 'aunt,' and strike out for
herself. I'd ask my mother, or some other lady
of good standing, to take the girl under her
wing, and see that she was cared for until a
place was found in some business or profession
suited to her talents. And that's as far as I
care to go at this sitting. As for the ways and
means, in these days of fast cars and daredevil
drivers who are in daily danger of losing their
"By gad, I'll do it," and Carshaw's emphatic
fist thumped the table.
"Steady! This Voles is a tremendous fel-
low. In a personal encounter you would stand
no chance. And he's the sort that shoots at
sight. Mick the Wolf, too, is a bad man from
the wild and woolly West. The type exists, even
to-day. We have gunmen here in New York
who'd clean up a whole saloonful of modern
cowboys. Voles and Mick are in Fairfield, but
I've a notion they'll not stay in the same hotel
as Winifred and her aunt. I think, too, that
they may lie low for a day or two. You'll ob-
serve, of course, that Rachel Craik, so poverty-
122 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
stricken that Winifred had to earn eight dollars
a week to eke out the housekeeping, can now
afford to travel and live in expensive hotels.
All this means that Winifred ought to be urged
to break loose and come back to New York.
The police will protect her if she gives them the
opportunity, but the law won't let us butt in
between relatives, even supposed ones, without
sufficient justification. One last word you
must forget everything I've said."
"And another last word," cried Clancy.
* ' The Bureau is a regular old woman for tittle-
tattle. We listen to all sorts of gossip. Some
of it is real news."
"And, by jing, I was nearly omitting one bit
of scandal," said Steingall. "It seems that
Mick the Wolf and a fellow named Fowle met
in a corner saloon round about One Hundred
and Twelfth Street the night before last. They
soon grew thick as thieves, and Fowle, it ap-
pears, watched a certain young couple stroll
off into the gloaming last night."
"Next time I happen on Fowle!" growled
"You'll leave him alone. Brains are better
than brawn. Ask Clancy."
"Sure thing!" chuckled the little man.
"Look at us two!"
"Anyhow, I'd hate to have the combination
working against me," and with this deft re-
CAR8HAW TAKES UP THE CHASE 123
joinder Carshaw hurried away to a garage
where he was known. At dawn he was hooting
an open passage along the Boston Post Road
in a car which temporarily replaced his own
Within three hours he was seated in the din-
ing-room of the Maples Inn and reading a news-
paper. It was the off season, and the hotel con-
tained hardly any guests, but he had ascertained
that Winifred and her aunt were certainly
there. For a long time, however, none but a
couple of German waiters broke his vigil, for
this thing happened before the war. One stout
fellow went away. The other, a mere boy, re-
mained and flecked dust with a napkin, wonder-
ing, no doubt, why the motorist sat hours at the
table. At last, near noon, Rachel Craik, with a
plaid shawl draped around her angular shoul-
ders, and Winifred, in a new dress of French
gray, came in.
Winifred started and cast down her eyes on
seeing who was there. Carshaw, on his part,
apparently had no eyes for her, but kept a look
over the top of his newspaper at Rachel Craik,
to see whether she recognized him, supposing it
to be a fact that he had been seen with Wini-
fred. She seemed, however, hardly to be aware
of his presence.
The girl and the woman sat some distance
from him the room was large near a win-
dow, looking out, and anon exchanging a remark
in quiet voices. Then a lunch was brought into
them, Carshaw meantime buried in the news-
paper except when he stole a glance at
His hope was that the woman would leave the
girl alone, if only for one minute, for he had a
note ready to slip into "Winifred's hand,
beseeching her to meet him that evening at
seven in the lane behind the church for some
talk "on a matter of high importance."
But fortune was against him. Rachel Craik,
after her meal, sat again at the window, took
up some knitting, and plied needles like a slow
machine. The afternoon wore on. Finally,
Carshaw rang to order his own late lunch, and
the German boy brought it in. He rose to go
to table; but, as if the mere act of rising
spurred him to further action, he walked
straight to "Winifred. The hours left him were
few, and his impatience had grown to the point
of desperateness now. He bowed and held out
the paper, saying:
"Perhaps you have not seen this morning's
newspaper?" At the same time he presented
her the note.
Miss Craik was sitting two yards away, half-
turned from Winifred, but at this afternoon
offer of the morning's paper she glanced round
fully at Winifred, and saw, that as Winifred
CARSHAW TAKES UP THE CHASE 125
took the newspaper, she tried to grasp with it
a note also which lay on it tried, but failed,
fo-r the note escaped, slipped down on Wini-
fred's lap, and lay there exposed.
Miss Craik's eyebrows lifted a little, but she
did not cease her knitting. Winifred's face was
painfully red, and in another moment pale.
Carshaw was not often at his wits' end, but now
for some seconds he stood embarrassed.
Rachel Craik, however, saved him by saying
quickly: "The gentleman has dropped some-
thing in your lap, Winifred." Whereupon
Winifred handed back the unfortunate note.
What was he to do now? If he wrote to Wini-
fred through the ordinary channels of the hotel
she might, indeed, soon receive the letter, but
the risks of this course were many and obvious.
He ate, puzzling his brains, spurring all his
power of invention. The time for action was
Suddenly he noticed the German boy, and
had a thought. He could speak German well,
and, guessing that Rachel Craik probably did
not understand a word of it, he said in a natural
voice to the boy in German:
"Fond of American dollars, boy!"
"Ja, mein Herr," answered the boy.
"I'm going to give you five."
"You are very good, mein Herr/' said the
boy, "beautiful thanks!"
126 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
"But you have to earn them. Will you do
just what I tell you, without asking for any
"If I can, mein Herr."
"Nothing very difficult. You have only to go
over yonder by that chair where I was sitting,
throw yourself suddenly on the floor, and begin
to kick and wriggle as though you had a fit.
Keep it up for two minutes, and I will give you
not five but ten. Will you do this?"
"From the heart willingly, mein Herr,"
answered the boy, who had a solemn face and
a complete lack of humor.
"Wait, then, three minutes, and then sud-
denly do it."
The three minutes passed in silence ; no sound
in the room, save the clicking of Carshaw 's
knife and fork, and the ply of Rachel Craik's
knitting-needles. Then the boy lounged away
to the farther end of the room; and suddenly,
with a bump, he was on the floor and in the
"Halloo!" cried Carshaw, while from both
Winifred and Rachel came little cries of alarm
for a fit has the same effect as a mouse on
the nerves of women.
"He's in a fit!" screamed the aunt.
"Please do something for him!" cried Wini-
fred to Carshaw, with a face of distress. But
he would not stir from his seat. The boy still
CARS HAW TAKES UP THE CHASE 127
kicked and writhed, lying on his face and utter-
ing blood-curdling sounds. This was easy. He
had only to make bitter plaint in the German
"Oh, aunt," said Winifred, half risen, yet
hesitating for fear, "do help that poor fellow!"
Whereupon Miss Craik leaped up, caught the
water-jug from the table with a rather wither-
ing look at Carshaw, and hurried toward the
boy. Winifred went after her and Carshaw
went after Winifred.
The older woman turned the boy over, bent
down, dipped her fingers in the water, and
sprinkled his forehead. Winifred stood a little
behind her, bending also. Near her, too, Car-
shaw bent over the now quiet form of the boy.
A piece of paper touched Winifred's palm
the note again. This time her fingers closed on
it and quickly stole into her pocket.
THE TWO CAKS
"!T is highly improper on my part to come
here and meet you," said Winifred. "What
can it be that you have to say to me of such
The two were in the lane behind the church,
at seven that same evening. Winifred, on some
pretext, has escaped the watchful eyes of Rachel
Craik, or fancied that she had, and came hur-
riedly to the waiting Carshaw. She was all
aflutter with expectancy not untinged by fear,
she knew not of what. The nights were begin-
ning to darken early, and it was gloomy that
evening, for the sky was covered with clouds
and a little drizzle was falling.
"You are not to think that there is the least
hint of impropriety about the matter," Carshaw
assured her. "Understand, please, Winifred,
that this is no lovers' meeting, but a business
one, on which your whole future life depends.
You cannot suppose that I have followed you to
Fairfield for nothing."
"How could you possibly know that I
here f ' '
THE TWO CARS 129
"From the police."
"The police again? What a strange thing!"
"Yes, a strange thing, and yet not so strange.
They are keenly interested in you and your
movements, for your good. And I, of course,
still more so."
"You are wonderfully good to care. But, tell
me quickly, I cannot stay ten minutes. I think
my aunt suspects something. She already
knows about the note dropped to-day into my
1 'And about the boy in the fit. Does she sus-
pect that, too?"
' * What, was that a ruse ? Good gracious, how
artful you must be! I'm afraid of you "
" Endlessly artful for your sake, Winifred."
"You are kind. But tell me quickly."
"Winifred, you are in danger, from which
there is only one way of escape for you
namely, absolute trust in me. Pray understand
that the dream in which you heard some one
say, 'She must be taken away from New York'
was no dream. You are here in order to be
taken. This may be the first stage of a long
journey. Understand also that there is no bond
of duty which forces you to go against your will,
for the shrewdest men in the New York police
have reason to think you are not who you
imagine you are, and that the woman you call
your aunt is no relative of yours,"
130 THE BAETLETT MYSTERY
"What reason have they?" asked Winifred.
"I don't care I don't know, they have not
told me. But I believe them, and I want you
to believe me. The persons who have charge of
your destiny are not normal persons more or
less they have done, or are connected with
wrong. There is no doubt about that. The
police know it, though they cannot yet drag
that wrong into the light. Do you credit what
"It is all very strange."
"It is true. That is the point. Have you,
by the way, ever seen a man called Voles 1 ' '
"Yet that man at this moment is somewhere
near you. He came in the same train with you
from New York. He is always near you. He
is the most intimate associate of your aunt.
Think now, and tell me whether it is not a dis-
turbing thing that you never saw this man
face to face?"
"Most disturbing, if what you say is so."
"But suppose I tell you what I firmly believe
that you have seen him; that it was his face
which bent over you in your half-sleep the
other night, and his voice which you heard?"
"I always thought that it was no dream,"
said Winifred. "It was not a nice face."
"And remember, Winifred," urged Carshaw
THE TWO CARS 131
earnestly, "that to-day and to-morrow are your
last chances. You are about to be taken far
away possibly to France or England, as surely
as you see those clouds. True, if you go, I shall
go after you."
"Yes, I. But, if you go, I cannot be certain
how far I may be able to defend and rescue you
there, as I can in America. I know nothing
of foreign laws, and those who have you in their
power do. On that field they may easily beat
me. So now is your chance, Winifred."
"But what am I to do?" she asked in a
scared tone, frightened at last by the sincerity
blazing from his eyes.
"Necessity has no rules of propriety," he
answered. "I have a car here. You should
come with me this very night to New York.
Once back there, it is only what my interest in
you gives me the right to expect that you will
consent to use my purse for a short while, till
you find suitable employment. ' '
Winifred covered her face and began to cry.
"Oh, I couldn't!" she sobbed.
"Don't cry," said Carshaw tenderly. "You
must, you know, since it is the only way. You
cry because you do not trust me."
" Oh ! I do. But what a thing it is that you
propose ! To break with all my past on a sud-
132 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
den. I hardly even know you ; last week I had
not seen you "
" There, that is mistrust. I know you as well
as if I had always known you. In fact, I always
did, in a sense. Please don't cry. Say that you
will come with me to-night. It will be the best
piece of work that you ever did for yourself,
and you will always thank me for having per-
"But not to-night! I must have time to
reflect, at least."
"Perhaps to-morrow night. I don't know.
I must think it over first in all its bearings. To-
morrow morning I will leave a letter in the
office, telling you '
"Well, if you insist on the delay. But it is
dangerous, Winifred it is horribly danger-
"I can't help that. How could a girl run
away in that fashion?"
"Well, then, to-morrow night at eleven, pre-
cisely. I shall be at the end of this lane in my
car, if your letter in the morning says 'Yes.'
Is that understood?"
"Let me warn you against bringing anything
with you any clothes or a grip. Just steal out
of the inn as you are. And I shall be just there
at the corner at eleven. ' '
THE TWO CARS 133
"I may not have the chance of speaking to
you again before "
But Carshaw's pleading stopped short; from
the near end of the lane a tall form entered it
Rachel Craik. She had followed Winifred from
the hotel, suspecting that all was not well had
followed her, lost her, and now had ref ound her.
She walked sedately, with an inscrutable face,
toward the spot where the two were talking.
The moment Carshaw saw this woman of ill
omen he understood that all was lost, unless he
acted with bewildering promptness, and quickly
he whispereed in Winifred's ear:
''It must be to-night or never! Decide now.
'Yes' or 'No.' "
"Yes," said Winifred, in a voice so low that
he could hardly hear.
"At eleven to-night?"
"Yes," she murmured.
Rachel Craik was now up to them. She was
in a vile temper, but contrived to curb it.
"What is the meaning of this, Winifred?
And who is this gentlemen?" she said.
Winifred, from the habit of a lifetime, stood
in no small awe of that austere woman. All the
blood fled from the girl's face. She could only
"I am coming, aunt," and went following
with a dejected air a yard behind her captor.
134 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
In this order they walked till they arrived at the
door of the Maples Inn, neither having uttered
a single word to the other. There Miss Craik
halted abruptly. "Go to your room," she mut-
tered. "I'm ashamed of you. Sneaking out at
night to meet a strange man ! No kitchen-wench
could have behaved worse."
Winifred had no answer to that taunt. She
could not explain her motives. Indeed, she
would have failed lamentably had she attempted
it. All she knew was that life had suddenly
turned topsy-turvy. She distrusted her aunt,
the woman to whom she seemed to owe duty and
respect, and was inclined to trust a young man
whom she had met three times in all. But she
was gentle and soft-hearted. Perhaps, if this
Mr. Rex Carshaw, with his earnest eyes and
wheedling voice, could have a talk with
"aunty," his queer suspicions so oddly borne
out by events might be dissipated.
"I'm sorry if I seem to have done wrong,"
she said, laying a timid hand on Rachel Craik 's
arm. "If you would only tell me a little, dear.
Why have we left New York? Why"
"Do you want to see me in jail?" came the
"No. Oh, no. But"
"Obey me, then! Remain in your room till
I send for you. I'm in danger, and you, you
THE TWO CARS 135
foolish girl, are actually in league with my
Winifred sped through the porch, and hied
her to a window in her room on the first floor
which commanded a view of the main street.
She could see neither Carshaw nor Aunt Rachel,
the one having determined to lie low for a few
hours, and the other being hidden from sight
already as she hastened through the rain to the
small inn where Voles and Mick the Wolf were
These worthies were out. The proprietor
said they had hired a car and gone to Bridge-
port. "Miss Craik could only wait, and she sat
in the lobby, prim and quiet, the picture of res-
ignation, not betraying by a look or gesture the
passions of anger, apprehension, and impa-
tience which raged in her breast.
Voles did not come. An hour passed; eight
struck, then nine. Once the word ' l carousing" !
passed Miss Rachel's lips with an intense bitter-
ness; but, on the whole, she sat with a stiff
back, patient as stone.
Then after ten there came the hum and whir
of an automobile driven at high speed through
the rain-sodden main street. It stopped outside
the inn. A minute later the gallant body of
Voles entered, cigar in his mouth, and a look
of much champagne in his eyes.
136 TEE BARTLETT MYSTERY
''What, Rachel, girl, you here!" he said in
his offhand way.
1 'Are you sober?" asked Rachel, rising
''Sober? Never been really soused in my
life! What 'sup?"
He dropped a huge paw roughly on her
shoulder, and her hard eyes softened as she
looked at his face and splendid frame, for
Ralph "Voles" was Rachel Craik's one weak-
"What's the trouble?" he went on, seeing
that her lips were twitching.
"You should have been here," she snapped.
"Everything may be lost. A man is down here
after Winifred, and I've caught her talking to
him in secret."
"A cop?" and Voles glanced around the
otherwise deserted lobby.
"I don't know most probably. Or he may
be that same man who was walking with her on
Wednesday night in Central Park. Anyway,
this afternoon he tried to hand her a note in
offering her a newspaper. The note fell, and I
saw it. Afterward he managed to get it to her
in some way, though I never for a moment let
her out of my sight ; and they met about seven
o'clock behind the church."
' ' The little cat ! She beat you to it, Rachel ! ' '
"There is no time for talk, Ralph. That man.
THE TWO CARS 137
will take her from us, and then woe to you, to
William, to us all. Things come out; they do,
they do the deepest secrets! Man, man oh,
rouse yourself, sober yourself, and act! We
must be far from this place before morn-
"No more trains from here "
"You could hire a car for your own amuse-
ment. Rush her off in that. Snatch her away
to Boston. We may catch a liner to-morrow."
"But we can't have her seeing us!"
"We can't help that. It is dark; she won't
see your face. Let us be gone. We must have
been watched, or how could that man have found
us out? Ralph! Don't you understand? You
must do something."
"Where's this spy you gab of? I'll "
"This is not the Mexican border. You can't
shoot here. The man is not the point, but the
girl. She must be gotten away at once."
"Nothing easier. Off, now to the hotel, and
be ready in half an hour. I'll bring the car
Rachel Craik wanted no further discussion.
She reached the Maples Inn in a flurry of little
runs. Before the door she saw two glaring
lights, the lamps of Carshaw's automobile. It
was not far from eleven. Even as she
approached the hotel, Carshaw got in and drove
down the street. He drew up on a patch of
138 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
grass by the roadside at the end of the lane
behind the church. Soon after this he heard a
clock strike eleven.
His eyes peered down the darkness of the
lane to see Winifred coming, as she had prom-
ised. It was still drizzling slightly the night
was heavy, stagnant and silent. Winifred did
not come, and Carshaw's brows puckered with
care and foreboding. A quarter of an hour
passed, but no light tread gladdened his ear.
Fairfield lay fast asleep.
Carshaw could no longer sit still. He paced
restlessly about the wet grass to ease his
anxious heart. And so another quarter of an
hour wore slowly. Then the sound of a fast-
moving car broke the silence. Down the road a
pair of dragon-eyes blazed. The car came like
the chariots of Sennacherib, in reckless flight.
Soon it was upon him. He drew back out of the
road toward his own racer.
Though rather surprised at this urgent flight
he had no suspicion that Winifred might be the
cause of it. As the car dashed past he clearly
saw on the front seat two men, and in the ton-
neau he made out the forms of two women. The
faces of any of the quartet were wholly merged
in speed and the night, but some white object
fluttered in the swirl of air and fell forlornly
in the road, dropping swiftly in its final plunge,
like a stricken bird. He darted forward and
THE TWO CARS 139
picked up a lady's handkerchief. Then he
knew! Winifred was being reft from him
again. He leaped to his own car, started the
engine, turned with reckless haste, and in a few
seconds was hot in chase.
THE two automobiles rushed along the Boston
Post Road, heading for Bridgeport. The loud
rivalry of their straining engines awoke many
a wayside dweller, and brought down maledic-
tions on the heads of all midnight joy-riders.
Carshaw knew the road well, and his car was
slightly superior to the other in speed. His
hastily evolved plan was to hold the kidnappers
untilthey were in the main street of Bridgeport.
There he could dash ahead, block further pro-
gress, risking a partial collision if necessary,
and refer the instant quarrel to the police, bid-
ding them verify his version of the dispute by
telephoning New York.
He could only hope that Winifred would bear
him out as against her "aunt," and he felt sure
that Voles and his fellow-adventurer dare not
risk close investigation by the law. At any
rate, his main object at present was to overtake
the car in front, which had gained a flying start,
and thus spoil any maneuvering for escape,
such as turning into a side road. In his enthu-
siasm he pressed on too rapidly.
THE PURSUIT 141
He was seen, and his intent guessed. The
leading car slowed a trifle in rounding a bend ;
as Carshaw careened into view a revolver-shot
rang out, and a bullet drilled a neat hole in the
wind-screen, making a noise like the sharp crack
of a whip. Simultaneously came a scream!
That must be Winifred's cry of terror in his
behalf. The sound nerved him anew. He saw
red. A second shot, followed by a wilder shriek,
spat lead somewhere in the bonnet. Carshaw
set his teeth, gave the engine every ounce of
power, and the two chariots of steel went
raging, reckless of consequences, along the
There must be a special Providence that looks
after chauffeurs, as well as after children and
drunkards, for at some places the road, though
wide enough, was so dismal with shadow that
if any danger lurked within the darkness it
would not have been seen in time to be avoided.
11 Drunkenness" is, indeed, the word to
describe the state of mind of the two drivers
by this time a heat to be on, a wrath against
obstacles, a storm in the blood, and a light in
the eyes. Voles would have whirled through a
battalion of soldiers on the march, if he had
met them, and would have hissed curses at them
as he pitched over their bodies. He knew how
to handle an automobile, having driven one
over the rough tracks of the Rockies, so this
142 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
well-kept road offered no difficulties. For five
minutes the cars raged ahead, passed through a
sleeping village street and down a hill into open
No sound was made by their occupants, whose
minds and purposes remained dark one to the
other. Voles might have fancied himself chased
by the flight of witches who harried Tarn o*
Shanter, while Carshaw might have been hunt-
ing a cargo of ghosts ; only the running hum of
the cars droned its music along the highway,
with a staccato accompaniment of revolver-
shots and Winifred's appeals to heaven for aid.
Meantime, the rear car still gained on the one in
front. And, on a sudden, Carshaw was aware
of a shouting, though he could not make out the
words. It was Mick the Wolf, who had clam-
bered into the tonneau and was bellowing :
"Pull up, you Pull up, or I'll get you
Nor was the threat a waste of words, for he
had hardly shouted when again a bullet flicked
past Carshaw 's head.
Just then a bend of the road and a patch
of woodland hid the two cars from each other ;
but they had hardly come out upon a reach of
straight road again when another shot was
fired. Carshaw, however, was now crouched
low over the steering wheel, and using the hood
of the car as a breast-work; though, since he
THE PURSUIT 143
was obliged to look out, his head was still more
or less exposed.
He bated no whit of speed on this account, but
raced on; still, that firing in the dark had an
effect upon his nerves, making him feel rather
queer and small, for every now and again at
intervals of a few seconds, it was sure to come,
the desperado taking slow, cool aim with the
perseverance of a man plying his day's work,
of a man repeating to himself the motto:
"If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try
Those shots, moreover, were coming from a
hand whose aim seldom failed a dead shot,
baffled only by the unconquerable vibration.
And yet Carshaw was untouched. He could
not even think. He was conscious only of the
thrum of the car, the spurts of flame, the whistle
of lead, the hysterical frenzy of Winifred's
The darkness alone saved him, but the more
he caught up with the fugitive the less was this
advantage likely to stand him in good stead.
And when he should actually catch them up
what then? This question presented itself now
to his heated mind. He had no plan of action.
None was possible. Even in Bridgeport what
could he do? There were two against one
he would simply be shot as he passed the
144 TEE BARTLETT MYSTERY
It was only the heat of the hunt that had
created in him the feeling that he must over-
take them, though he died for it; but when he
was within thirty yards of the front car, and
two shots had come dangerously near in swift
succession, a flash of reason warned him, and
he determined to slacken speed a little. He was
not given time to do this. There was an out-
cry on the car in front from three throats in it.
A mob of oxen, being driven to some market,
blocked the road just beyond a bend. The men
in charge had heard the thunder of the oncom-
ing racers, with its ominous obbligato of
screams and shooting. They had striven des-
perately to whack the animals to the hedge on
either side, and were bawling loud warnings
to those thrice accursed gunmen whom they
imagined chased by police. Their efforts, their
yells, were useless. Sixty miles an hour de-
mands at least sixty yards for safety. When
Voles put hand and foot to the brakes he had
hardly a clear space of ten. An obstreperous
bullock was the immediate cause of disaster.
Facing the dragon eyes, it charged valiantly!
Mick the Wolf, running short of cartridges,
was about to ask Voles to slow down until he
"got" the reckless pursuer, when he found him-
self describing a parabola backward through
the air. He landed in the roadway, breaking
his left arm.
THE PURSUIT 145
Voles had an extraordinary lurid oath
squeezed out of his vast bulk as he was forced
onto the steering-wheel, the pillar snapping like
a carrot. Winifred and Rachel Craik were flung
against the padded back of the driving seat, but
saved from real injury because of their crouch-
ing to avoid Mick the Wolf.
Voles was as quick as a wildcat in an emer-
gency like this. He was on his feet in a second,
with a leg over the door, meaning to shoot Car-
shaw ere the latter could do anything to pro-
tect himself. But luck, dead against honesty
thus far, suddenly veered against crime. Car-
shaw's car smashed into the rear of the heavy
mass composed of crushed bullock and automo-
bile no longer mobile, and dislocated its own
engine and feed pipes. The jerk threw Voles
heavily, and nearly, not quite, sprained his
ankle. So, during a precious second or two, he
lay almost stunned on the left side of the road.
Carshaw, given a hint of disaster by the
slightest fraction of time, and already braced
low in the body of his car, was able to jump
unobserved from the wreck. As though his
brain were illumined by a flash of lightning, he
remembered that the signal handkerchief had
fluttered from the off side of the flying car, so
he ran to the right, and grabbed a breathless
Bundle of soft femininity Out of the ruin.
" Winifred," he gasped.
146 TEE BAETLETT MYSTERY
"Oh, are you safe?" came the strangled sob.
So that was her first thought, his safety! It
is a thrilling moment in a man's life when he
learns that his well-being provides an all-suffic-
ing content for some dear woman. Come weal,
come woe, Carshaw knew then that he was
clasping his future wife in his arms. He ran
with her through a mob of frightened cattle,
and discovered a gate leading into a field.
"Can you stand if I lift you over?" he said,
leaning against the bars.
"Of course! I can run, too," and, in maid-
enly effort to free herself, she hugged him
closer. They crossed the gate and together
breasted a slight rise through scattered sheaves
of corn-shucks. Meanwhile, Voles and the
cattlemen were engaged in a cursing match
until Rachel Craik, recovering her wind,
screamed an eldrich command:
"Stop, you fool! They're getting away. He
has taken her down the road!"
Voles limped off in pursuit, and Mick the
Wolf took up the fierce argument with the driv-
ers. At that instant the wreck blazed into
flame. Eachel had to move quickly to avoid a
holocaust in which a hapless bullock provided
the burnt offering. The light of this pyre
revealed the distant figures of Winifred and
Carshaw, whereupon the maddened Voles tried
pot shots at a hundred yards. Bullets came
THE PURSUIT 147
close, too. One cut the heel of Carshaw's shoe;
another plowed a ridge through his motoring
cap. Realizing that Voles would aim only at
him, he told Winifred to run wide.
She caught his hand.
1 ' Please help!" she breathed. "I cannot
run far. ' '
He smothered a laugh of sheer joy. Wini-
fred's legs were supple as his. She was prob-
ably the fleeter of the two. It was the mother-
instinct that spoke in her. This was her man,
and she must protect him, cover him from ene-
mies with her own slim body.
Soon they were safe from even a chance shot.
On climbing a rail fence, Carshaw led the girl
clearly into view until a fold in the ground
offered. Then they doubled and zigzagged?
They saw some houses, but Carshaw wanted
no explanation or parleying then and pressed
on. They entered a lane, or driveway, and fol-
lowed it. There came a murmuring of mighty
waters, the voice of the sea ; they were on the
beach of Long Island Sound. Far behind, in
the gloom, shone a lurid redness, marking the
spot where the two cars and the bullock were
being converted into ardent gasses.
Carshaw halted and surveyed a long, low line
of blackness breaking into the deep-blue plain
of the sea to the right.
M I know where we are," he said. "There 'a
148 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
a hotel on that point. It's about two miles.
You could walk twenty, couldn't you?"
"Oh, yes," said Winifred unthinkingly.
"Or run five at a jog-trot?" he teased her.
"Well er "
She blushed furiously, and thanked the night
that hid her from his eyes. No maid wishes a
man to think she is in love with him before he
has uttered the word of love. When next she
spoke, Winifred's tone was reserved, almost
"Now tell me what has caused this tornado,"
she said. "I have been acting on impulse.
Please give me some reasonable theory of to-
It was on the tip of Carshaw's tongue to
assure her that they were going to New York
by the first train, and would hie themselves
straight to the City Hall for a marriage license.
But he had a mother, a prized and deeply rev-
erenced mother. Ought he to break in on her
placid and well-balanced existence with the curt
announcement that he was married, even to a
wife like Winifred. Would he be playing the
game with those good fellows in the detective
bureau? Was it fair even to Winifred that she
should be asked to pay the immediate price, as
it were, of her rescue? So the fateful words
were not uttered, and the two trudged on, talk-
ing with much common sense, probing the
TEE PURSUIT 149
doubtful things in Winifred's past life, and
ever avoiding the tumult of passion which must
have followed their first kiss.
In due course an innkeeper was aroused and
the mishap of a car explained. The man took
them for husband and wife; happily, Winifred
did not overhear Carsbaw's smothered:
The girl soon went to her room. They parted
with a formal hand-shake ; but, to still the ready
lips of scandal, Carshaw discovered the land-
lord's favorite brand of wine and sat up all
night in his company.
STEINGALL and Clancy were highly amused by
Carshaw's account of the "second burning of
Fairfield," as the little man described the strug-
gle between Winifred's abductors and her res-
cuer. The latter, not so well versed in his
country's history as every young American
ought to be, had to consult a history of the Rev-
olution to learn that Fairfield was burned by
the British in 1777. The later burning, by the
way, created a pretty quarrel between two in-
surance companies, the proprietors of two gar-
ages and the owner of a certain bullock, with
Carshaw's lawyer and a Bridgeport lawyer,
instructed by "Mr. Ralph Voles," as inter-
"And where is the young lady now?" in-
quired Steingall, when Carshaw's story reached
"Living in rooms in a house in East Twenty-
Seventh Street, a quiet place kept by a Miss
"Ah! Too soon for any planning as to the
future, I suppose?"
THE NEW LINK 151
"We talked of that in the train. Winifred
has a voice, so the stage offers an immediate
opening. But I don't like the notion of musical
comedy, and the concert platform demands a
good deal of training, since a girl starts there
practically as a principal. There is no urgency.
Winifred might well enjoy a fortnight's rest.
I have counseled that."
"A stage wait, in fact," put in Clancy, sar-
By this time Carshaw was beginning to
understand the peculiar quality of the small
"Yes," he said, smiling into those piercing
and brilliant eyes. "There are periods in a
man's life when he ought to submit his desires
to the acid test. Such a time has come now for
"But 'Aunt Rachel' may find her. Is she
strong-willed enough to resist cajoling, and
seek the aid of the law if force is threatened!"
"Yes, I am sure now. What she heard and
saw of those two men during the mad run along
the Post Road supplied good and convincing
reasons why she should refuse to return to Miss
' ' Why are you unwilling to charge them with
attempted murder?" said Steingall, for Car-
shaw had stipulated there should be no legal
152 TEE BARTLETT MYSTERY
"My lawyers advise against it," he said sim-
"You've consulted them?"
"Yes, called in on my way here. When I
reached home after seeing Winifred fixed com-
fortably in Miss Goodman's, I opened a letter
from my lawyers, requesting an interview on
another matter, of course. Meaning to marry
Winifred, if she '11 take me, I thought it wise to
tell them something about recent events."
Steingall carefully chose a cigar from a box
of fifty, all exactly alike, nipped the end off,
and lighted it. Clancy's fingers drummed im-
patiently on the table at which the three were
seated. Evidently he expected the chief to
play Sir Oracle. But the head of the Bureau
contented himself with the comment that he was
still interested in Winifred Bartlett's history,
and would be glad to have any definite particu-
lars which Carshaw might gather.
Clancy sighed so heavily on hearing this
"departmental" utterance that Carshaw was
"If I could please myself, I'd rush Winifred
to the City Hall for a marriage license to-day,"
he said, believing he had fathomed the other's
"I'm a bit of a Celt on the French and Irish
sides," snapped Clancy, "and that means an
ineradicable vein of romance in my make-up.
TEE NEW LINK 153
But I'm a New York policeman, too a guy
who has to mind his own business far more
frequently than the public suspects."
And there the subject dropped. Truth to tell,
the department had to tread warily in stalking
such big game as a Senator. Carshaw was a
friend of the Towers, and "the yacht mystery"
had been deliberately squelched by the highly
influential persons most concerned. It was im-
politic, it might be disastrous, if Senator Meik-
lejohn's name were dragged into connection
with that of the unsavory Voles on the flimsy
evidence, or, rather, mere doubt, affecting
Winifred Bartlett's early life.
Winifred herself lived in a passive but bliss-
ful state of dreams during the three weeks.
Perhaps, in her heart of hearts, she wondered
if every young man who might be in love with a
girl imposed such rigid restraint on himself as
Rex Carshaw when he was in her company.
The unspoken language of love was plain in
every glance, in every tone, in the merest touch
of their hands. But he spoke no definite word,
and their lips had never met.
Miss Goodman, who took an interest in the
pretty and amiable girl, spent many an hour of
chat with her. Every morning there arrived a
present of flowers from Carshaw; every after-
noon Carshaw himself appeared as regularly
as the clock and drank of Miss Goodman's tea.
154 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
They were weeks of Nirvana for Winifred, and,
but for her fear of being found out and her con-
tinued lack of occupation, they were the happi-
est she had ever known. Meantime, however,
she was living on "borrowed" money, and felt
herself in a false position.
"Well, any news?" was always Carshaw's
first question as he placed his hat over his stick
on a chair. And Winifred might reply :
"Not much. I saw such-and-such a stage
manager, and went from such an agent to
another, and had my voice tried, with the usual
promises. I'm afraid that even your patience
will soon be worn out. I am sorry now that I
thought of singing instead of something else,
for there are plenty of girls who can sing much
better than I."
"But don't be so eager about the matter,
Winifred," he would say. "It is an anxious little
heart that eats itself out and will not learn,
repose. Isn't it? And it chafes at "being
dependent on some one who is growing weary
of the duty. Doesn't it!"
"No, I didn't mean that," said Winifred
with a rueful and tender smile. "You are infin-
itely good, Rex." They had soon come to the
use of Christian names. Outwardly they were
just good friends, while inwardly they resem-
bled two active volcanoes.
"Now I am 'infinitely good,' which is really
THE NEW LINK 155
more than human if you think it out," he
laughed. "See how you run to extremes with
nerves and things. No, you are not to care at
all, Winnie. You have a more or less good
voice. You know more music than is good for
you, and sooner or later, since you insist on it,
you will get what you want. Where is the
"You don't or won't understand," said
Winifred. "I know what I want, and must get
some work without delay."
"Well, then, since it upsets you, you shall.
I am not much of an authority about profes-
sional matters myself, but I know a lady who
understands these things, and I'll speak to
"Who is this lady?" asked Winifred.
"Mrs. Ronald Tower."
* ' Young nice-looking ? ' ' asked Winifred,
looking down at the crochet work in her lap.
She was so taken up with the purely feminine
aspect of affairs that she gave slight heed to a
"Er so-so," said Carshaw with a smile
borne of memories, which Winifred's downcast
eyes just noticed under their raised lids.
"What is she like?" she went on.
"Let me see! How shall I describe her?
Well, you know Gainsborough's picture of the
Duchess of Devonshire? She's like that, full-
156 THE BAETLETT MYSTERY
busted, with preposterous hats, dashing rather
"Indeed!" said Winifred coldly. "She must
be awfully attractive. A very old friend?"
' * Oh, rather ! I knew her when I was eigh-
teen, and she was elancee then."
"What does elancee mean?"
"On the loose."
"What does that mean?"
"Well a bit free and easy, doesn't it?
Something of that sort. Smart set, you know."
"I see. Do you, then, belong to the smart
"I? No. I dislike it rather. But one rubs
with all sorts in the grinding of the mill."
"And this Mrs. Ronald Tower, whom you
knew at eighteen, how old was she then?"
"About twenty- two or so."
"And she was gay then?"
"As far as ever society would let her."
' * How did you know ? ' '
"I well, weren't we almost boy and girl to-
"I wonder you can give yourself the pains
to come to spend your precious minutes with
me when that sort of woman is within
"What, not jealous?" he cried joyously.
"And of that passee creature? Why, she isn't
worthy to stoop and tie the latchets of your
shoes, as the Scripture saith!"
THE NEW LINK 157
"Still, I'd rather not be indebted to that lady;
for anything," said Winifred.
''But why not? Don't be excessive, little one.
There is no reason, you know."
''How does she come to know about singing
and theatrical people?"
"I don't know that she does. I only assume
it. A woman of the world, cutting a great dash,
yet hard up that kind knows all sorts and con-
ditions of men. I am sure she could help you,
and I'll have a try."
"But is she the wife of the Ronald Tower
who was dragged by the lasso into the river?"
"It is odd how that name keeps on occurring
in my life," said Winifred musingly. "A
month ago I first heard it on Riverside Drive,
and since then I hear it always. I prefer, Rex,
that you do not say anything to that woman
' ' I shall ! ' ' said Rex playfully. ' ' You mustn 't
start at shadows."
Winifred was silent. After a time she
"Have you seen Mr. Steingall or Mr. Clancy
"Yes, a couple of days ago. We are always
more or less in communication. But I have
nothing to report. They're keeping track of
Voles and Mick the Wolf, but those are birds
158 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
who don't like salt on their tails. You know
already that the Bureau never ceases to work
at the mystery of your relation with your im-
possible 'aunt,' and I think they have informa-
tion which they have not passed on to me."
"Is my aunty still searching for me, I won-
der?" asked Winifred.
"Oh, don't call her aunty call her your
antipodes ! It is more than that woman knows
how to be your aunt. Of course, the whole
crew of them are moving heaven and earth to
find you! Clancy knows it. But let them try
they won't succeed. And even if they do,
please don't forget that I'm here now!"
"But why should they be so terribly anxious
to find me I My aunty always treated me fairly
well, but in a cold sort of a way which did not
betray much love. So love can't be their mo-
"Love!" And Carshaw breathed the word
softly, as though it were pleasing to his ear.
"No. They have some deep reason, but what
that is is more than any one guesses. The same
reason made them wish to take you far from
New York, though what it all means is not very
clear. Time, perhaps, will show."
The same night Rex Carshaw sat among a
set which he had not frequented much of late
in Mrs. Tower's drawing-room. There were
several tables surrounded with people of vari-
THE NEW LINK 159
ous American and foreign types playing bridge.
The whole atmosphere was that of Mammon;
one might have fancied oneself in the halls of
a Florentine money-changer. At the same table
with Carshaw were Mrs. Tower, another society
dame, and Senator Meiklejohn, who ought to
have been making laws at Washington.
Tower stood looking on, the most unimpor-
tant person present, and anon ran to do some
bidding of his wife's. Carshaw's only relation
with Helen Tower of late had been to allow
himself to be cheated by her at bridge, for she
did not often pay, especially if she lost to one
who had been something more than a friend.
When he did present himself at her house, she
felt a certain gladness apart from the money
which he would lose; women ever keep some
fragment of the heart which the world is not
permitted to scar and harden wholly.
She grew pensive, therefore, when he told her
that he wished to place a girl on the concert
stage, and wished to know from her how best
to succeed. She thought dreamily of other
days, and the slightest pin-prick of jealousy
touched her, for Carshaw had suddenly become
earnest in broaching this matter, and the other
pair of players wondered why the game was in-
terrupted for so trivial a cause.
"What is the girl's name!" she asked.
"Her name is of no importance, but, if you
160 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
must know, it is Winifred Bartlett," he an-
Senator Meiklejohn laid his thirteen cards
face upward on the table. There had been no
bidding, and his partner screamed in protest:
"Senator, what are you doing?"
He had revealed three aces and a long suit
"We must have a fresh deal," smirked Mrs.
"Well, of all the wretched luck!" sighed the
other woman. Meiklejohn pleaded a sudden in-
disposition, yet lingered while a servant sum-
moned Ronald Tower to play in his stead.
Carshaw knew Winifred that same Wini-
fred whom he and his secret intimates had
sought so vainly during three long weeks!
Voles and his arm-fractured henchman were
recuperating in Boston, but Rachel Craik and
Fowle were hunting New York high and low
for sight of the girl.
Fowle, though skilled in his trade, found well-
paid loafing more to his choice, for Voles had
sent Rachel to Fowle, guessing this man to be
of the right kidney for underhanded dealings.
Moreover, he knew Winifred, and would rec-
ognize her anywhere. Fowle, therefore, sud-
denly blossomed into a "private detective,"
and had reported steady failure day after day.
Bachel Craik had never ascertained Carshaw 's
THE NEW LINK 161
name, as it was not necessary that he should
register in the Fairfield Inn, and Fowle, with a
nose still rather tender to the touch, never
spoke to her of the man who had smashed it.
So these associates in evil remained at cross-
purposes until Senator Meiklejohn, when the
bridge game was renewed and no further in-
formation was likely to ooze out, went away
from Mrs. Tower's house to nurse his sickness.
He recovered speedily. A note was sent to
Eachel by special messenger, and she, in turn,
sought Fowle, whose mean face showed a blot-
chy red when he learned that Winifred could
be traced by watching Carshaw.
1 1 I'll get her now, ma'am," he chuckled.
"It'll be dead easy. I can make up as a parson.
Did that once before when well, just to fool
a bunch of people. No one suspects a parson
see? I'll get her sure!"
A SUBTLE ATTACK
VOLES was brought from Boston. Though
Meiklejohn dreaded the man, conditions might
arise which would call for a bold and ruthless
rascality not quite practicable for a Senator.
The lapse of time, too, had lulled the politi-
cian's suspicions of the police. They seemed
to have ceased prying. He ascertained, almost
by chance, that Clancy was hot on the trail
of a gang of counterfeiters. "The yacht my-
stery ' ' had apparently become a mere memory
in the Bureau.
So Voles came, with him Mick the Wolf,
carrying a left arm in splints, and the Senator
thought he was taking no risk in calling at the
up-town hotel where the pair occupied rooms
the day after Carshaw blurted out Winifred's
name to Helen Tower. He meant paying an-
other visit that day, so was attired de rigueur,
a fact at which Voles, pipe in mouth and loung-
ing in pajamas, promptly scoffed.
"Gee!" he cried. "Here's the Senator
mooching round again, dressed up to the nines
dust coat, morning suit, boots shining, all the
2 SUBTLE ATTACK 163
frills but visiting low companions all the
same. Why doesn't the man turn over a new
leaf and become good?"
"Oh, hold your tongue!" said "William.
"We've got the girl, Ralph!"
"Got the girl, have we! Not the first girl
you've said that about is it, my wily Wil-
"Listen, and drop that tone when you're
speaking to me, or I'll cut you out for good
and all!" said Meiklejohn in deadly earnest.
"If ever you had need to be serious, it is now.
I said we've got her, but that only means that
we are about to get her address ; and the trouble
will be to get herself afterward."
"Tosh! As to that, only tell me where she
is, an' I'll go and grab her by the neck."
"Don't be such a fool. This is New York
and not Mexico, though you insist on confound-
ing the two. Even if the girl were without
friends, you can't go and seize people in that
fashion over here, and she has at least one
powerful friend, for the man who beat you
hollow that night, and carried her off under
your very nose, is Rex Carshaw, a determined
youngster, and rich, though not so rich as he
thinks he is. And there must be no failure a
second time, Ralph. Remember that! Just
listen to me carefully. This girl is thinking of
going on the stage! Do you realize what that
164 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
means, if she ever gets there? You have your-
self said she is the living' image of her mother.
You know that her mother was well known in
society. Think, then, of her appearing before
the public, and of the certainty of her being
recognized by some one, or by many, if she
does. Fall down this time, and the game's up !"
"The thing seems to be, then, to let daylight
into Carshaw," said Voles.
"Oh, listen, man! Listen! What we have to
do is to place her in a lonely house in the
country where, if she screams, her screams
will not be heard; and the only possibility of
bringing her there is by ruse, not by violence."
"Well, and how get her there?"
"That has to be carefully planned, and even
more carefully executed. It seems to me that
the mere fact of her wishing to go on the stage
may be made a handle to serve our ends. If
we can find a dramatic agent with whom she
is in treaty, we must obtain a sheet of his office
paper, and write her a letter in his name, mak-
ing an appointment with her at an empty house
in the country, some little distance from New
York. None of the steps presents any great
difficulty. In fact, all that part I undertake
myself. It will be for you, your friend Mick,
and Rachel Craik to receive her and keep her
eternally when you once have her. You may
then be able so to work upon her as to persuade
'A SUBTLE 'ATTACK 165
her to go quietly with you to South America or
England. In any case, we shall have shut her
away from the world, which is our object."
"Poor stuff! How about this Carshaw?
Suppose he goes with her to keep the appoint-
ment, or learns from her beforehand of it?
Carshaw must be wiped out."
"He must certainly be dealt with, yes," said
Meiklejohn, "but in another manner. I think
I think I see my way. Leave him to me. I
want this girl out of New York State in the
first instance. Suppose you go to the Oranges,
in New Jersey, pick out a suitable house, and
rent iff Go to-day."
Voles raised his shaggy eyebrows.
"What's the rush?" he said amusedly.
"After eighteen years "
"Will you never learn reason? Every hour,
every minute, may bring disaster."
"Oh, have it your way! I'll fix Carshaw if he
camps on my trail a second time."
Meiklejohn returned to his car with a care-
searned brow. He was bound now for Mrs.
Carshaw 's apartment.
If he was fortunate enough to find her in,
and alone, he would take that first step in ' ' deal-
ing with" her son which he had spoken of to
Voles. He made no prior appointment by
phone. He meant catching her unawares, so
that Rex could have no notion of his presence.
166 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
Mrs. Carshaw was a substantial lady of fifty,
a society woman of the type to whom the
changing seasons supply the whole duty of man
and woman, and the world outside the orbit
of the Four Hundred is a rumor of no import/
She had met Senator Meiklejohn in so many
places for so many years that they might be
called comrades in the task of dining and mak-
ing New York look elegant. She was pleased to
see him. Their common fund of scandal and
epigram would carry them safely over a cheer-
"And as to the good old firm of Carshaw
prosperous as usual, I hope*" said Meiklejohn,
balancing an egg-shell tea-cup.
Mrs. Carshaw shrugged.
"I don't know much about it," she said, ''but
I sometimes hear talk of bad times and lack of
capital. I suppose it is all right. Rex does not
1 'Ah! but the mischief may be just there,"
said Meiklejohn ' ' The rogue may be throwing
it all on the shoulders of his managers, and let-
ting things slide."
"He may he probably is. I see very little
of him, really, especially just lately."
"Is it the same little influence at work upon
him as some months ago!" asked Meiklejohn,
bending nearer, a real confidential crony.
'A SUBTLE ATTACK 167
" Which same little influence?" asked the
lady, agog with a sense of secrecy, and genu-
inely anxious as to anything affecting her
''Why, the girl, Winifred Bartlett."
"Bartlett! As far as know, I have never
even heard her name."
"Extraordinary! Why, it's the talk of the
"Tell me. What is it all about!"
"Ah, I must not be indiscreet. When I men-
tioned her, I took it for granted that you knew
all about it, or I should not have told tales out
of school. ' '
"Yes, but you and I are of a different gener-
ation than Bex. He belongs to the spring, we
belong to the autumn. There is no question of
telling tales out of school as between you and
him. So now, please, you are going to tell me
' * Well, the usual story : A girl of lower social
class; a young man's head turned by her wiles;
the conventions more or less defied; business
yawned at ; mother, friends, everything shelved
for the time being, and nothing important but
the one thing. It's not serious, perhaps. So
long as business is not too much neglected, and
no financial consequences follow, society thinks
not a whit worse of a young man on that account
on one condition, mark you ! There must bo
168 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
no question of marriage. But in this case there
is that question."
"But this is merely ridiculous!" laughed
Mrs. Carshaw shrilly. "Marriage! Can a son
of mine be so quixotic?"
"It is commonly believed that he is about to
marry her. ' '
"But how on earth has it happened that I
never heard a whisper of this preposterous
"It is extraordinary. Sometimes the one
interested is the last to hear what every one is
"Well, I never was so amused!" Yet Mrs.
Carshaw's wintry smile was not joyous. "Rex!
I must laugh him out of it, if I meet him any-
where ! ' '
* * That you will not succeed in doing, I think. ' '
"Well, then I'll frown him out of it. This is
why I see all now. ' '
f ' There you are hardly wise, to think of either
laughing or frowning him out of it," said
Meiklejohn, offering her wordly wisdom. "No,
in such cases there is a better way, take my
word for it."
"And that is?"
"Approach the girl. Avoid carefully saying
one word to the young man, but approach the
girl. That does it, if the girl is at all decent,
and has any sensibility. Lay the facts plainly
A SUBTLE ATTACK 169
before her. Take her into your confidence
this flatters her. Invoke her love for the young
man whom she is hurting by her intimacy with
him this puts her on her honor. Urge her to
fly from him this makes her feel herself a
martyr, and turns her on the heroic tack. That
is certainly what I should do if I were you, and
I should do it without delay."
" You 're right. I'll do it," said Mrs. Car-
shaw. "Do you happen to know where this
girl is to be found ? ' '
"No. I think I can tell, though, from whom
you might get the address Helen Tower. I
heard" your son talking to her last night about
the girl. He was wanting to know whether
Helen could put him in the way of placing her
on the stage."
"What ! Is she one of those scheming chorus-
"It appears so."
"But has he had the effrontery to mention
her in this way to other ladies? It is rather
amusing! Why, it used to be said that Helen
Tower was his belle amie."
"All the more reason, perhaps, why she may
be willing to give you the address, if she knows
"I'll see her this very afternoon."
' ' Then I must leave you at leisure now, ' ' said
170 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
An hour later Mrs. Carshaw was with Helen
Tower, and the name of Winifred Bartlett arose
"But he did not give me her address,"
said Mrs. Tower. "Do you want it pres-
"Why, yes. Have you not heard that there
is a question of marriage?"
' ' Good gracious ! Marriage ? ' '
The two women laid their heads nearer
together, enjoying the awfulness of the thing,
though one was a mother and the other was
pricked with jealousy in some secret part of her
"Yes marriage!" repeated the mother.
Such an enormity was dreadful.
"It sounds too far-fetched! What will you
"Senator Meiklejohn recommends me to
approach the girl. ' '
"Well, perhaps that is the best. But how to
get her address? Perhaps if I asked Eex he
would tell it, without suspecting anything. On
the other hand, he might take alarm."
"Couldn't you say you had secured her a
place on the stage, and make him send her to
you, to test her voice, or something? And then
you could send her on to me," said the elder
"Yes, that might be done," answered Helen
A. SUBTLE ATTACK 171
Tower. "I'd like to see her, too. She must be
extraordinarily pretty to capture Rex. Some
of those common girls are, you know. It is a
caprice of Providence. Anyway, I shall find
her out, or have her here somehow within the
next few days, and will let you know. First of
all, I'll write Rex and ask him to come for
She did this, but without effect, for GarshaW
was engaged elsewhere, having taken Winifred
to a theater.
However, Meiklejohn was again at the bridge
party, and when he asked whether Mrs. Car-
shaw had paid a visit that afternoon, and the
address of the girl had been given, Helen Tow-
"I don't know it. I am now trying to find
The Senator seemed to take thought.
"I hate interfering," he said at last, "but I
like young Carshaw, and have known his mother
many a year. It's a pity he should throw him-
self away on some chit of a girl, merely because
she has a fetching pair of eyes or a slim ankle,
or Heaven alone knows what else it is that first
turns a young man's mind to a young woman.
I happen to have heard, however, that Winifred
Bartlett lives in a boarding-house kept by Miss
Goodman in East Twenty-Seventh Street.
Now, my name must not "
172 TEE BAETLETT MYSTERY
Helen Tower laughed in that dry way which
often annoyed him.
" Surely by this time you regard me as a
trustworthy person," she said.
So Fowle had proven himself a capable
tracker, and Winifred's persecutors were again
closing in on her. But who would have imag-
ined that the worst and most deadly of them
might be the mother of her Rex? That, surely,
was something akin to steeping in poison the
you Miss Winifred Bartlett?" asked
Mrs. Carshaw the next afternoon in that remote
part of East Twenty-Seventh Street which for
the first time bore the rubber tires of her lim-
"Yes, madam,'* said Winifred, who stood
rather" pale before that large and elegant pres-
ence. It was in the front room of the two which
"But where have I seen you before?" asked
Mrs. Carshaw suddenly, making play with a
pair of mounted eye-glasses.
"I cannot say, madam. Will you be seated?"
"What a pretty girl you are!" exclaimed the
visitor, wholly unconscious of the calm insol-
ence which "society" uses to its inferiors.
"I'm certain I have seen you somewhere, for
your face is perfectly familiar, but for the life
of me I cannot recall the occasion."
Mrs. Carshaw was not mistaken. Some dim
cell of memory was stirred by the girl's like-
ness to her mother. For once Senator Meikle-
john's scheming had brought him to the edge of
174 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
the precipice. But the dangerous moment
passed. Rex's mother was thinking of other
and more immediate matters. Winifred stood
silent, scared, with a foreboding of the meaning
of this tremendous visit.
"Now, I am come to have a quiet chat with
you," said Mrs. Carshaw, "and I only hope
that you will look on me as a friend, and be per-
fectly at your ease. I am sorry the nature of
my visit is not of a quite pleasant nature, but
no doubt we shall be able to understand each
other, for you look good and sweet. Where
have I seen you before? You are a sweetly
pretty girl, do you know? I can't altogether
blame poor Rex, for men are not very rational
creatures, are they? Come, now, and sit quite
near beside me on this chair, and let me talk to
you. ' '
Winifred came and sat, with tremulous lip,
not saying a word.
' ' First, I wish to know something about your-
self," said Mrs. Carshaw, trying honestly to
adopt a motherly tone. "Do you live here all
alone? Where are your parents?"
"I have none as far as I know. Yes, I live
here alone, for the present."
"But no relatives?"
"I have an aunt a sort of aunt but "
"You are mysterious 'a sort of aunt.' And
is this 'sort of aunt' with you here?"
TEE VISITOR 175
' ' No. I used to live with her, but within the
last month we have separated."
"Is that my son's doings?"
"No that is no."
"So you are quite alone?"
"And my son comes to see you?"
"He comes yes, he comes."
"But that is rather defiant of everything, is
A blush of almost intense carmine washed
Winifred's face and neck. Mrs. Carshaw knew
how to strike hard. Every woman knows how
to hurt another woman.
"Miss Goodman, my landlady, usually stays
in here when he comes," said she.
"All the time?"
"Most of the time."
"Well, I must not catechise you. No one
woman has the right to do that to another, and
you are sweet to have answered me at all. I
think you are good and true ; and you will there-
fore find it all the easier to sympathize with my
motives, which have your own good at heart, as
well as my son's. First of all, do you under-
stand that my son is very much in love with
"I you should not ask me I may have
thought that he liked me. Has he told you
176 TEE BAETLETT MYSTERY
"He has never mentioned your name to me.
I never knew of your existence till yesterday.
But it is so ; he is fond of you, to such an un-
usual extent, that quite a scandal has arisen in
his social set "
"Not about me?"
"But there is nothing "
"Yes; it is reported that he intends to marry
you. ' '
"And is that what the scandal is about? I
thought the scandal was when you did not
marry, not when you did."
Mrs. Carshaw permitted herself to be sur-
prised. She had not looked for such weapons in
Winifred's armory. But she was there to carry
out what she deemed an almost sacred mission,
and the righteous can be horribly unjust.
"Yes, in the middle classes, but not in the
upper, which has its own moral code not a
strictly Biblical one, perhaps," she retorted
glibly. "With us the scandal is not that you
and my son are friends, but that he should seri-
ously think of marrying you, since you are on
such different levels. You see, I speak plainly."
Winifred suddenly covered her face with her
hands. For the first time she measured the
great gulf yawning between her and that dear
hope growing up in her heart.
"That is how the matter stands before mar-
TEE VISITOR 177
riage," went on Mrs. Carshaw, sure that she
was kind in being merciless. "You can con-
ceive how it would be afterwards. And society
is all nature it never forgives; or, if it for-
gives, it may condone sins, but never an in-
discretion. Nor must you think that your love
would console my son for the great social loss
which his connection with you threatens to
bring on him. It will console him for a month,
but a wife is not a world, nor, however beloved,
does she compensate for the loss of the world.
If, therefore, you love my son, as I take it that
you do do you?"
Winifred's face was covered. She did not
"Tell me in confidence. I am a woman, too,
and know '
A sob escaped from the poor bowed head.
Mrs. Carshaw was moved. She had not counted
on so hard a task. She had even thought of
* ' Poor thing ! That will make your duty very
hard. I wish but there is no use in wishing!
Necessity knows no pity. Winifred, you must
summon all your strength of mind, and get out
of this false position."
1 ' What am I to do ? What can I do V ' wailed
Winifred. She was without means or occupa-
tion, and could not fly from the house.
"You can go away," said Mrs. Carshaw,
"without letting him know whither you have
gone, and till you go you can throw cold water
on his passion by pretending dislike or indiffer-
"But could I do such a thing, even if I
tried?" came the despairing cry.
"It will be hard, certainly, but a woman
should be able to accomplish everything for the
man she loves. Remember for whose sake you
will be doing it, and promise me before I leave
you. ' '
1 * Oh, you should give me time to think before
I promise anything," sobbed Winifred. "I
believe I shall go mad. I am the most unfor-
tunate girl that ever lived. I did not seek him
he sought me ; and now, when I Have you
' ' You see that I have not only pity, but con-
fidence. It is hard, but I feel that you will rise
to it. I, and you, are acting for Rex's sake, and
I hope, I believe, you will do your share in sav-
ing him. And now I must go, leaving my sting
behind me. I am so sorry! I never dreamed
that I should like you so well. I have seen you
before somewhere it seems to me in an old
dream. Good-by, good-by! It had to be done,
and I have done it, but not gladly. Heaven help
us women, and especially all mothers!"
Winifred could not answer. She was choked
with sobs, so Mrs. Carshaw took her departure
TEE VISITOR 179
in a kind of stealthy haste. She was far more
unhappy now than when she entered that quiet
house. She came in bristling with resolution.
She went out, seemingly victorious, but feeling
small and mean.
When she was gone Winifred threw herself
on a couch with buried head, and was still there
an hour later when Miss Goodman brought up a
letter. It was from a dramatic agent whom she
had often haunted for work or rather it was
a letter on his office paper, making an appoint-
ment between her and a " manager" at some
high-sounding address in East Orange, New
Jersey, when, the writer said, "business might
result. ' '
She had hardly read it when Rex Carshaw's
tap came to the door.
About that same time Steingall threw a note
across his office table to Clancy, who was there
to announce that in a house in Brooklyn a fine
haul of coiners, dies, presses, and other illicit
articles, human and inanimate, had just been
"Ralph V. Voles and his bad man from the
West have come back to New York again,"
said the chief. "You might give 'em an eye."
"Why on earth doesn't Carshaw marry the
girl?" said Clancy.
"I dunno. He's straight, isn't he?"
"Strikes me that way."
180 TEE BARTLETT MYSTERY
"Me, too. Anyhow, let's pick up a few
threads. I've a notion that Senator Meiklejohn
thinks he has side-stepped the Bureau."
Clancy laughed. His mirth was grotesque
as the grin of one of those carved ivories of
Japan, and to the effect of the crinkled features
was added a shrill cackle. The chief glanced
"Don't do that," he said sharply. "You get
my goat when you make that beastly noise!"
These two were beginning again to snap at
each other about the Senator and his affairs,
and their official quarrels usually ended badly
for the other fellow.
WINIFRED, pale as death, rose to receive her
lover, with that letter in her hand which made
an appointment with her at a house in East
Orange; a letter which she believed to have
been written by a dramatic agent, but which
was actually inspired by Senator Meiklejohn.
It was the bait of the trap which should put her
once more in the power of Meiklejohn and his
During a few tense seconds the girl prayed
for power to play the bitter part which had
been thrust upon her to play it well for the
sake of the man who loved her, and whom she
loved. The words of his mother were still in
her ears. She had to make him think that she
did not care for him. In the last resort she had
to fly from him. She had tacitly promised to
do this woeful thing.
Far enough from her innocent mind was it
to dream that the visit of Rex's mother had
been brought about by her enemies in order to
deprive her of a protector and separate her
182 THE BAETLETT MYSTERY
from her lover at the very time when he was
most necessary to save her.
Carshaw entered in high spirits. "Well, I
have news " he began. "But, hello! What's
"With whom?" asked Winifred.
"You look pale."
"Do I? It is nothing."
"You have been crying, surely."
"Tell me. What is wrong?"
"Why should I tell you, if anything is
He stood amazed at this speech. "Odd
words," said he, looking at her in a stupor of
surprise, almost of anger. "Whom should you
tell but me?"
This touched Winifred, and, struggling with
the lump in her throat, she said, unsteadily: "I
am not very well to-day; if you will leave me
now, and come perhaps some other time, you
will oblige me."
Carshaw strode nearer and caught her shoul-
* ' But what a tone to me ! Have I done some-
thing wrong, I wonder? Winnie, what is
"I have told you I am not very well. I do not
desire your company to-day."
"Whew! What majesty! It must be gome-
WINIFRED DRIFTS 183
thing outrageous. But what? Won't you be
dear and kind, and tell me!"
"You have done nothing."
"Yes, I have. I think I can guess. I spoke
of Helen Tower yesterday as of an old sweet-
heart was that it? And it is all jealousy.
Surely I didn't say much. What on earth did
I say? That she was like a Gainsborough; that
she was rather a beauty; that she was elancee
at twenty- two. But I didn't mean any harm.
Why, it's jealousy!"
At this Winifred drew herself up to dis-
charge a thunderbolt, and though she winced at
the Olympian effort, managed to say distinctly :
' ' There can be no jealousy where there is no
Carshaw stood silent, momentarily stunned,
like one before whom a thunderbolt has really
exploded. At last, looking at the pattern of a
frayed carpet, he said humbly enough:
"Well, then, I must be a very unfortunate
sort of man, Winifred."
"Don't believe me!" Winifred wished to cry
out. But the words were checked on her white
lips. The thought arose in her, "He that put-
teth his hand to the plow and looketh back "
"It is sudden, this truth that you tell me,"
went on Carshaw. "Is it a truth?"
"You are not fond of me, Winnie?"
184 TEE BARTLETT MYSTERY,
"I have a liking for you."
"That is all."
"Don't say it, dear. I suffer."
"Do you? No, don't suffer. I can't help
myself. ' '
"You are sorry for me, then?"
"But how came I, then, to have the opposite
impression so strongly? I think I can't help
thinking that it was your fault, dear. You
made me hope, perhaps without meaning me to,
that that life was to be happy for me. When
I entered that door just now no man in New
York had a lighter step than I, or a more care-
less heart. I shall go out of it different, dear.
You should not have allowed me to think
what I did ; and you should not have told me the
truth so quite so suddenly."
"Sit down. You are not fair to me. I did
not know you cared "
"You you did not know that I cared? Come,
that's not true, girl!"
"Not so much, I mean not quite so much.
I thought that you were flirting with me, as I
perhaps was flirting with you."
"Who is that I hear speaking? Is it Wini-
fred? The very sound of her voice seems dif-
ferent. Am I dreaming? She flirting with me ?
I don't realize her it is a different girl! Qh\
WINIFRED DRIFTS 185
this thing comes to me like a falling steeple.
It had no right to happen ! ' '
"You should sit down, or you should go;
better go better, better go," and Winifred
clutched wildly at her throat. "Let us part
now, and let us never meet ! ' '
"If you like, if you wish it," said Carshaw,
still humbly, for he was quite dazed. "It seems
sudden. I am not sure if it is a dream or not.
It isn't a happy one, if it is. But have we no
business to discuss before you send me away in
this fashion! Do you mean to throw off my
help as well as myself?"
"I shall manage. I have an offer of work
here in my hands. I shall soon be at work,
and will then send the amount of the debt which
I owe you, though you care nothing about that,
and I know that I can never repay you for all. ' '
"Yes, that is true, too, in a way. Am I, then,
actually to go?"
"But you are not serious? Think of my living
on, days and years, and not seeing you any
more. It seems a pitiable thing, too. Even you
must be sorry for me."
"Yes, it seems a pitiable thing!"
"So what do you say?"
"Good-by. Go go!"
"But you will at least let me know where
you are? Don't be quite lost to me."
186 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
"I shall be here for some time. But you
won't come. I mustn't see you. I demand
"No, no. I won't come, you may be sure.
And you, on your part, promise that if you
have need of money you will let me know?
That is the least I can expect of you."
"I will; but go. I will have you in my
memory. Only go from me now, if you
"Good-by, then. I do not understand, but
good-by. I am all in, Winnie; but still, good-
by. God bless you "
He kissed her hand and went. Her skin was
cold to his lips, and, in a numb way, he won-
dered why. A moment after he had disap-
peared she called his name, but in an awful,
hushed voice which he could not hear; and she
fell at her length on the couch.
"Rex! My love! My dear love," she
moaned, and yet he did not hear, for the sky
had propped on him.
There she lay a little while, yet it was not all
pain with her. There is one sweetest sweet
to the heart, one drop of intensest honey,
sweeter to it than any wormwood is bitter,
which consoled her the consciousness of self-
sacrifice, of duty done, of love lost for love's
sake. Mrs. Carshaw had put the girl on what
Senator Meiklejohn cynically called "the heroic
WINIFRED DRIFTS 187
tack"; and, having gone on that tack, Wini-
fred deeply understood that there was a secret
smile in it, and a surprising light. She lay
catching her breath till Miss Goodman brought
up the tea-tray, expecting to find the cheery
Carshaw there as usual, for she had not heard
him go out.
Instead, she found Winifred sobbing on the
couch, for Winifred's grief was of that depth
which ceases to care if it is witnessed by others.
The good landlady came, therefore, and knelt
by Winifred's side, put her arm about her, and
began to console and question her. The con-
solation did no good, but the questions did.
For, if one is persistently questioned, one must
answer something sooner or later, and the
mind's effort to answer breaks the thread of
grief, and so the commonplace acts as a medi-
cine to tragedy.
In the end Winifred was obliged to sit up and
go to the table where the tea-things were. This
was in itself a triumph ; and her effort to secure
solitude and get rid of Miss Goodman was a
further help toward throwing off her mood of
despair. By the time Miss Goodman was gone
the storm was somewhat calmed.
During that sad evening, which she spent
alone, she read once more the le'tter making
the appointment with her at East Orange.
Now, reading it a second time, she felt a twinge
188 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
of doubt. Who could it be, she wondered, whom
she would have to see there? East Orange
was some way off. A meeting of this sort usu-
ally took place in New York, at an office.
Her mind was not at all given to suspicions,
but on reading over the letter for the third
time, she now noticed that the signature was
not in the handwriting of the agent. She knew
his writing quite well, for he had sent her other
letters. This writing was, indeed, something
like his, but certainly not his. It might be a
clerk's; the letter was typed on his office
To say that she was actually disturbed by
these little rills of doubt would not be quite
true. Still, they did arise in her mind, and left
her not perfectly at ease. The touch of un-
easiness, however, made her ask herself why
she should now become a singer at all. It was
Carshaw who had pressed it upon her, because
she had insisted on the vital necessity of doing
something quickly, and he had not wished her
to work again with her hands. In reality, he
was scheming to gain time.
Now that they were parted she saw no reason
why she should not throw off all this stage am-
bition, and toil like other girls as good as she.
She had done it. She was skilled in the book-
binding craft; she might do it again. She
counted her money and saw that she had enough
WINIFRED DRIFTS 189
to carry her on a week, or even two, with econ-
omy. Therefore, she had time in which to seek
Even if she did not find it she would have
not the slightest hesitation in "borrowing"
from Rex ; for, after all, all that he had was hers
she knew it, and he knew it. Before she went
to bed she decided to throw up the singing am-
bition, not to go to the appointment at East
Orange, but to seek some other more modest
About that same hour Rex Carshaw walked
desolately to the apartment in Madison Avenue.
He threw himself into a chair and propped his
head on a hand, saying: "Well, mother!" for
Mrs. Carshaw was in the room.
His mother glanced anxiously at him, for
though Winifred had promised to keep secret
the fact of her visit, she was in fear lest some
hint of it might have crept out; nor had she
foreseen quite so deadly an effect on her son as
was now manifest. He looked careworn and
weary, and the maternal heart throbbed.
She came and stood over him. "Rex, you
don't look well," said he.
"No; perhaps I'm not very well, mother,"
said he listlessly.
"Can I do anything?"
"No; I'm rather afraid that the mischief is
beyond you, mother."
190 TEE BARTLETT MYSTERY
"Poor boy! It is some trouble, I know.
Perhaps it would do you good to tell me."
"No; don't worry, mother. I'd rather be
left alone, there's a dear."
"Only tell me this. Is it very bad? Does it
"Where's the use of talking? What cannot
be cured must be endured. Life isn't all a
smooth run on rubber tires."
"But it will pass, whatever it is. Bear up
and be brave."
"Yes; I suppose it will pass when I am
She tried to smile.
"Only the young dream of death as a relief,"
she said. "But such wild words hurt, Rex."
"That's all right, only leave me alone; you
can't help. Give me a kiss, and then go."
A tear wet his forehead when Mrs. Carshaw
laid her lips there.
ALL EOADS LEAD TO EAST ORANGE
THE next day Winifred set about her new pur-
pose of finding some other occupation than that
connected with the stage, though she rose from
bed that morning feeling ill, having hardly
slept throughout the night.
First, she read over once more the "agent's"
letter, and was again conscious of an extremely
vague feeling of something queer in it when
she reflected on the lateness of the hour of the
rendezvous eight in the evening. She decided
to write, explaining her change of purpose, and
declining the interview with this nebulous
"client." She did not write at once. She
thought that she would wait, and see first the
result of the day's search for other employ-
Soon after breakfast she went out, heading
for Brown's, her old employers in Greenwich
Village, who had turned her away after the
yacht affair and the arrest of her aunt.
As she waited at the crossing where the cars
pass, her eyes rested on a man a clergyman,
apparently standing on the opposite pave-
192 THE BAETLETT MYSTERY
merit. He was not at the moment looking that
way, and she took little notice of him, though
her subconsciousness may have recognized
something familiar in the lines of his body.
It was Fowle in a saintly garb, Fowle in a
shovel hat, Fowle interested in the comings and
goings of Winifred. Fowle, moreover, in those
days, floated on the high tide of ease, and had
plenty of money in his pocket. He not only
looked, but felt like a person of importance,
and when Winifred entered a street-car, Fowle
followed in a taxi.
There was a new foreman at Brown's now,
and he received the girl kindly. She laid her
case before him. She had been employed there
and had given satisfaction. Then, all at once,
an event with which she had nothing more to
do than people in China, had caused her to be
dismissed. Would not the firm, now that the
whole business had blown over, reinstate her?
The man heard her attentively through and
"Hold on. I'll have a talk with the boss."
He left her, and was gone ten minutes. Then
he returned, with a shaking head. "No,
Brown's never take any one back," said he;
"but here's a list of bookbinding firms which
he's written out for you, and he says he'll give
you a recommendation if any of 'em give you
With this list Winifred went out, and, deter-
mined to lose no time, started on the round, tak-
ing the nearest first, one in Nineteenth Street.
She walked that way, and slowly behind her
followed a clergyman. The firm in Nineteenth
Street wanted no new hand. Winifred got into
a Twenty-Third Street cross-town car. After
her sped a taxi.
And now, when she stopped at the third book-
binder's, Fowle knew her motive. She was
seeking work at the old trade. He was puzzled,
knowing that she had wished to become a
singer, and being aware, too, of the appointment
for the next night at East Orange. Had she,
then, changed her purpose? Perhaps she was
seeking both kinds of employment, meaning to
accept the one which came first. If the book-
binding won out that might be dangerous to
In any case, Fowle resolved to nip the project
in the bud. He would go later in the day to all
the firms she had visited, ask if they had en-
gaged her, and, if so, drop a hint that she had
been dismissed from Brown's for being con-
nected with the crime committed against Mr.
Eonald Tower. A bogus clergyman's word was
good for something, anyhow.
From Twenty-Third Street, where there was
no work, Winifred made her way to Twenty-
Ninth Street, followed still by the taxi. Here
194 TEE BARTLETT MYSTERY
things turned out better for her. She was
seen by a manager who told her that they
would be short-handed in three or four days,
and that, if she could really produce a refer-
ence from Brown's he would engage her per-
manently. Winifred left him her address, so
that he might write and tell her when she could
She lunched in a cheap restaurant and walked
to her lodgings. Color flooded her cheeks, but
she was appalled by her loneliness, by the emp-
tiness of her life. To bind books and to live
for binding books, that was not living. She
had peeped into Paradise, but the gate had been
shut in her face, and the bookbinding world
seemed an intolerably flat and stale rag-fair in
How was she to live it through, she asked
herself. When she went up to her room the
once snug and homely place disgusted her.
How was she to live through the vast void of
that afternoon alone in that apartment? How
bridge the vast void of to-morrow? The salt
had lost its savor; she tasted ashes; life was all
sand of the desert ; she would not see him any
more. The resolution which had carried her
through the interview with Carshaw failed her
now, and she blamed herself for the murder
"Ph, how could I have done such a thing V 1
'ALL ROADS LEAD TO EAST ORANGE 195
she cried, bursting into tears, with her hat still
on and her head on the table.
She had to write a letter to the "agent,"
telling him that she did not mean to keep the
rendezvous at East Orange, since she had ob-
tained other work, and with difficulty summoned
the requisite energy. Every effort was nause-
ous to her. Her whole nature was absorbed in
digesting her one great calamity.
Next morning it was the same. Her arms
hung listlessly by her side. She evaded little
domestic tasks. Though her clothes were new,
a girl can always find sewing and stitching. A
certain shirtwaist needed slight adjustment,
but her fingers fumbled a simple task. She
passed the time somehow till half past four.
At that hour there was a ring at the outer door.
In the absorption of her grief she did not hear
it, though it was "his" hour. A step sounded
on the stairs, and this she heard; but she
thought it was Miss Goodman bringing tea.
Then, brusquely, without any knock, the door
opened, and she saw before her Carshaw.
"Oh!" she screamed, in an ecstasy of joy,
and was in his arms.
The rope which bound her had snapped thus
suddenly for the simple reason that Carshaw
had promised never to come again, and was
very strict, as she knew, in keeping his pledged
word. Therefore, until the moment when her
196 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
distraught eyes took in the fact of his presence,
she had not the faintest hope or thought of see-
ing him for many a day to come, if ever.
Seeing him all at once in the midst of her
desert of despair, her reason swooned, all fixed
principles capsized, and instinct swept her
triumphantly, as the whirlwind bears a feather,
to his ready embrace. He, for his part, had
broken his promise because he could not help it.
He had to come so he came. His dismissal
had been too sudden to be credible, to find room
in his brain. It continued to have something
of the character of a dream, and he was here
now to convince himself that the dream was
Moreover, in her manner of sending him
away, in some of her words, there had been
something unreal and unconvincing, with
broken hints of love, even as she denied love,
which haunted and puzzled his memory. If he
had made a thousand promises he would still
have to return to her.
"Well," said he, his face alight for joy as she
moaned on his breast, "what is it all about?
You unreliable little half of a nerve, Winnie!"
( ' I can 't help it ; kiss me only once ! ' ' panted
Winifred, with tears streaming down her up-
Carshaw needed no bidding. Kiss her oncei!
Well, a man should smile.
r ALL ROADS LEAD TO EAST ORANGE 197
"What is it all about?" he demanded, when
Winifred was quite breathless. "Am I loved,
Her forehead was on his shoulder, and she
did not answer.
"It seems so," he whispered. "Silence is
said to mean consent. But why, then, was I
not loved the day before yesterday?"
Still Winifred dared not answer. The frenzy
was passing, the moral nature re-arising,
stronger than ever, claiming its own. She had
promised and failed! What she did was not
well for him.
"Tell me," he urged, with a lover's eager-
ness. "You'll have to, some time, you know."
"You promised not to come. You promised
definitely," said Winifred, disengaging herself
"Could I help coming?" cried he. "I was
in the greatest bewilderment and misery!"
' * So you will always come, even if you prom-
ise not to?"
"But I won't promise not to! Where is the
need now? You love me, I love you!"
Winifred turned away from him, went to the
window and looked out, seeing nothing, for the
eyes of the soul were busy. Her lips were now
firmly set, and during the minute that she stood
there a rapid train of thought and purpose
passed through her mind. She had promised
198 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
to give him up, and she would go through with
it. It was for him and it was sweet, though
bitter, to be a martyr. But she recognized
clearly that so long as he knew where to find
her the thing could never be done. She made up
her mind to be gone from those lodgings by
that hour the next day, and to be buried from
him in some other part of the great city. She
would never in that case be able to ask him for
help to keep going, without giving her address,
but in a few days she would have work at the
new bookbinder's. This well settled in her
mind, she turned inward to him, saying:
"Miss Goodman will soon bring up tea.
Come, let us be happy to-day. You want to
know if I love you? Well, the answer is yes,
yes; so now you know, and can never doubt.
I want you to stay a long time this afternoon,
and I invite you to be my dear, dear guest on
one condition that you don't ask me why I
told you that awful fib the day before yesterday,
for I don't mean to tell you!"
Of course Carshaw took her again in his
arms, and, without breaking her conditions,
stayed with her till nearly six. She was se-
dately gay all the time, but, on kissing him good-
by, she wept quietly, and as quietly she said to
her landlady when he was gone :
"Miss Goodman, I am going away to-morrow
always, I'm afraid."
'ALL ROADS LEAD TO EAST ORANGE 199
Soon after this six o'clock struck. At ten
minutes past the hour Miss Goodman brought
up two letters.
Without looking at the handwriting on the
envelopes, Winifred tore open one, laying the
other on a writing-desk, this latter being from
the agent in answer to the one she had written.
She had told him that she did not mean to keep
the appointment at East Orange, and he now
assured her that he had certainly never made
any appointment for her at East Orange. The
thing was some blunder. New York impres-
arios did not make appointments in East
Orange. He asked for an explanation.
Pity that she did not open this letter before
the other for the other was of a nature to drive
the existence of the agent's letter of any let-
ter out of her head; for days afterward that
all-important message lay on the table un-
The note which Winifred did read was from
the bookbinding manager who had all but en-
gaged her that day. He now informed her that
he would have no use for her services. The
clergyman in the taxi had followed very effec-
tively on Winifred's trail.
She was stunned by this final blow. Her
eyes gazed into vacancy. What she was to do
now she did not know. The next day she had
to go away into strange lodgings, with hardly
200 TEE BARTLETT MYSTERY
any money, without any possibility of her
applying again to Eex, without support of
any sort. She had never known real poverty,
for her "aunt" had always more or less been
in funds; and the prospect appalled her. She
would face it, however, at all costs, and, the
bookbinding failing her, her mind naturally re-
curred, with a gasp of hope, to the singing.
There was the appointment at East Orange
at eight. She looked at the clock; she might
have time, though it would mean an instant
rush. She would go. True, she had written the
agent to say that she would not, and he might
have so advised his client. But perhaps he had
not had time to do this, since she had written
him so late. In any case, there was a chance
that she should meet the person in question, and
then she could explain. Suddenly she leaped
up, hurried on her hat and coat, and ran out
of the house. In a few minutes she was at the
Hudson Tube, bound for Hoboken and East
Of course it was a mad thing to leave an un-
opened letter on the table, but just then poor
Winifred was nearly out of her mind.
WHEN Carshaw came, with lightsome step
and heart freed from care for in some re-
spects he was irresponsible as any sane man
could be to visit his beloved Winifred next
day, he was met by a frightened and somewhat
incoherent Miss Goodman.
"Not been home all night! Surely you can
offer some explanation further than that mad-
dening statement?" cried he, when the shock
of her news had sent the color from his face
and the joy from his eyes.
"Oh, sir, I don't know what to say. Indeed,
I am not to blame."
Miss Goodman, kind-hearted soul, was more
flurried now by Carshaw 's manner than by
Winifred's inexplicable disappearance.
"Blame, my good woman, who is imputing
blame?" he blazed at her. "But there's a hid-
den purpose, a convincing motive, in her going
out and not returning. Give me some clue,
some reason. A clear thought now, the right
word from you, may save hours of useless
202 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
"How can I give any clues'?" cried the be-
wildered landlady. "The dear- young creature
was crying all day fit to break her heart after
the lady called"
"The lady! What lady?"
"Your mother, sir. Didn't she tell you? Mrs.
Carshaw was here the day before yesterday,
and she must have spoken very cruelly to Wini-
fred to make her so downcast for hours. I
was that sorry for her "
Now, Carshaw had the rare faculty rare,
that is, in men of a happy-go-lucky tempera-
ment of becoming a human iceberg in moments
of danger or difficulty. The blank absurdity of
Miss Goodman's implied assertion that Wini-
fred had run away though, indeed, running
away was uppermost in the girl's thoughts
had roused him to fiery wrath.
But the haphazard mention of his mother's
visit, the coincidence of Winifred's unexpect-
edly strange behavior and equally unexpected
transition to a wildly declared love, revealed
some of the hidden sources of events, and over
the volcano of his soul he imposed a layer of
ice. He even smiled pleasantly as he begged
Miss Goodman to dry her eyes and be seated.
"We are at loggerheads, you see," he said,
almost cheerfully. "Just let us sit down and
have a quiet talk. Tell me everything you
know, and in the order in which things hap-,
THE CRASH 203
pened. Tell me facts, and if you are guess-
ing at probabilities, tell me you are guess-
ing. Then we shall soon unravel the tangled
Thus reassured, Miss Goodman took him
through the records of the past forty-eight
hours, so far as she knew them. After the first
few words he required no explanations of his
mother's presence in that middle-class section
of Manhattan. She had gone there in her
stately limousine to awe and bewilder a poor
little girl to frighten an innocent out of loving
her son and thus endangering her own gran-
diose projects for his future.
It was pardonable, perhaps, from a worldly
woman's point of view. That there were other
aspects of it she should soon see, with a certain
definiteness, the cold outlines of which already
made his mouth stern, and sent little lines to
wrinkle his forehead. He had spared her hith-
erto had hoped to keep on sparing her yet
she had not spared Winifred! But who had
prompted her to this heartless deed! He loved
his mother. Her faults were those of society,
her virtues were her own. She had lived too
long in an atmosphere of artificiality not to
have lost much of the fine American womanli-
ness that was her birthright. That could be
cured he alone knew how. The puzzling
query, for a little while, was the identity of the
204 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
cruel, calculating, ruthless enemy who struck
by her hand.
There was less light shed on Winifred's own
behavior. He recalled her words: ''You want
to know if I love you yes, yes I want you to
stay a long time this afternoon don't ask me
why Liold you that awful fib
And then her confession to Miss Goodman:
"I am going away to-morrow for always, I'm
What did that portend? Ah, yes; she was
going to some place where he could not find her,
to bury herself away from his love and because
of her love for him. It was no new idea in wo-
man's heart, this. For long ages in India sor-
rowing wives burned themselves to death on
the funeral pyres of their lords. Poor Wini-
fred only reversed the method of the sacrifice
: its result would be the same.
"But 'to-morrow' to-day, that is. You are
quite sure of her words?" he persisted.
"Oh, yes, sir; quite sure. Besides she has
left her clothes and letters, and little knick-
knacks of jewelry. Would you care to see
For an instant he hesitated, for he was a man
of refinement, and he hated the necessity of
prying into the little secrets of his dear one.
Then he agreed, and Miss Goodman took him
from her own sitting-room to that tenanted by
THE CRASH 205
Winifred. Her presence seemed to linger in the
air. His eyes traveled to the chair from which
she rose with that glad crooning cry when he
came to her so few hours earlier.
On the table lay her tiny writing-case. In it,
unopened, and hidden by the discouraging mis-
sive from the bookbinder's, rested the note
from the dramatic agent, with the thrice-im-
portant clue of its plain statement: "I have
made no appointment for you at any house near
But Miss Goodman had already thrown open
the door which led to Winifred's bedroom.
"You can see for yourself, sir," she said,
"the room was not occupied last night. Nor
that she could be in the house without me know-
ing it, poor thing. There are her clothes in the
wardrobe, and the dressing-table is tidy. She's
extraordinarily neat in her ways, is Miss Bart-
lett quite different from the empty-headed
creatures girls mostly are nowadays."
Miss Goodman spoke bitterly. She was fifty,
gray-haired, and a hopeless old maid. This
point of view sours the appearance of saucy
eighteen with the sun shining in its tresses.
Carshaw swallowed something in his throat.
The sanctity of this inner room of Winifred's
overwhelmed him. He turned away hastily.
"All right, Miss Goodman," he said; "we
can learn nothing here. Let us go back to your
206 THE BAETLETT MYSTERY
apartment, and I'll tell you what I want you
to do now."
Passing the writing-desk again he looked
more carefully at its contents. A small packet
of bills caught his eye. There were the re-
ceipts for such simple articles as Winifred had
bought with his money. Somehow, the mere
act of examining such a list struck him
with a sense of profanation. He could not
His eyes glazed. Hardly knowing what the
words meant, he glanced through the typed
document from the bookbinder. It was obvi-
ously a business letter. He committed no
breach of the etiquette governing private cor-
respondence by reading it. So great was his
delicacy in this respect that he did not even lift
the letter from the table, but noted the address
and the curt phraseology. Here, then, was a
little explanation. He would inquire at that
"I want you to telegraph me each morning
and evening," he said to the landlady. ''Don't
depend on the phone. If you have news, of
course you will give it, but if nothing happens
say that there is no news. Here is my address
and a five-dollar bill for expenses. Did Miss
Bartlett owe you anything?"
"No, sir. She paid me yesterday when she
gave me notice."
TEE CRASH 207
"Ah! Kindly retain her rooms. I don't
wish any other person to occupy them."
"Do you think, sir, she will not come back
"I fear so. She is detained by force. She
has been misled by some one. I am going now
to find out who that some one else is."
He drove his car, now rejuvenated, with the
preoccupied gaze of one who seeks to pierce a
dark and troubled future. From the garage
he called up the Long Island estate where his
hacks and polo ponies were housed for the
winter. He gave some instructions which
caused the man in charge to blink with astonish-
"Selling everything, Mr. Carshaw!" he said.
"D' ye really mean it?"
"Does my voice sound as if I were joking,
"No-no, sir; I can't say it does. But "
"Start on the catalogue now, this evening.
I'll look after you. Mr. Van Hofen wants a
good man. Stir yourself, and that place is
yours. ' '
He found his mother at home. She glanced
at him as he entered her boudoir. She saw,
with her ready tact, that questions as to his
state of worry would be useless.
"Will you be dining at home, Rex?" she
208 TEE BARTLETT MYSTERY
"Yes. And you?"
"I have almost promised to dine en famille
with the Towers."
"Better stop here. We have a lot of things
1 1 Arrange ! What sort of things ? ' '
"Business affairs for the most part."
' ' Oh, business ! Any discussion of
"I said nothing about discussion, mother.
For some years past I have been rather care-
less in my ways. Now I am going to stop all
that. A good business maxim is to always
choose the word that expresses one's meaning
exactly. ' '
"Bex, you speak queerly."
"That shows I'm doing well. Your ears have
so long been accustomed to falsity, mother, that
the truth sounds strangely."
"My son, do not be so bitter with me. I have
never in my life had other than the best of
motives in any thought or action that concerned
He looked at her intently. He read in her
words an admission and a defense.
"Let us avoid tragedy, mother, at least in
words. Who sent you to Winifred?"
"Then she has told you?"
"She has not told me. Women are either
angels or fiends. This harmless little angel has
been driven out of her Paradise in the hope that
THE CRASH 209
her butterfly wings may be soiled by the rain
and mud of Manhattan. Who sent you to her?"
"Senator Meiklejohn," said Mrs. Carshaw
"What, that smug Pharisee! What was his
"He said you were the talk of the clubs
that Helen Tower"
"She, too! Thank you. I see the drift of
things now. It was heartless of you, mother.
Did not Winifred's angel face, twisted into
misery by your lies, cause you one pang of
Mrs. Carshaw rose unsteadily. Her face was
ghastly in its whiteness.
"Rex, spare me, for Heaven's sake!" she
faltered. "I did it for the best. I have suf-
fered more than you know."
"I am glad to hear it. You have a good
nature in its depths, but the canker of society
has almost destroyed it. That is why you and
I are about to talk business."
"I am feeling faint. Let matters rest a few
He strode to the bell and summoned a ser-
vant. "Bring some brandy and two glasses,"
he said when the man came.
It was an unusual order at that hour.
Silently the servant obeyed. Carshaw looked
put of the window, while his mother, true to her.
210 THE BAETLETT MYSTERY
caste, affected nonchalance before the dom-
"Now," said he when they were alone, "drink
this. It will steady your nerves."
She was frightened at last. Her hand shook
as it took the proffered glass.
"What has happened?" she asked, with
quavering voice. She had never seen her son
like this before. There was a hint of inflexible
purpose in him that terrified her. When he
spoke the new crispness in his voice shocked
"Mere business, I assure you. Not another
word about Winifred. I shall find her, sooner
or later, and we shall be married then, at once.
But, by queer chance, I have been looking into
affairs of late. The manager of our Massachu-
setts mills tells me that trade is slack. We have
been running at a loss for some years. Our
machinery is antiquated, and we have not the
accumulated reserves to replace it. We are in
debt, and our credit begins to be shaky. Think
of that, mother the name of Carshaw pondered
over by bank managers and discounters of trade
"Senator Meiklejohn mentioned this va-
guely," she admitted.
"Dear me! WTiat an interest he takes in
us! I wonder why? But, as a financial mag-
nate, he understands things."
THE CEASE 211
"Your father always said, Rex, that trade
had its cycles fat years and lean years, you
know. ' '
"Yes. He built up our prosperity by hard
work, by spending less than half what he
earned, not by living in a town house and gad-
ding about in society. Do you remember,
mother, how he used to laugh at your pretty
little affectations! I think I own my share of
the family brains, though, so I shall act now
as he would have acted."
"Do you wish to goad me into hysteria?
What are you driving at?" she shrieked.
"That is the way to reach the heart of the
mystery get at the facts, eh? They're simple.
The business needs three hundred thousand dol-
lars to give it solidity and staying power ; then
four or five years' good and economical manage-
ment will set it right. We have been living at
the rate of fifty thousand dollars a year. For
some time we have been executing small mort-
gages to obtain this annual income, expecting
the business to clear them. Now the estates
must come to the help of the business."
"In what way?" she gasped.
"They must be mortgaged up to the hilt to
pay off the small sums and find the large one.
It will take ten years of nursing to relieve them
of the burden. Not a penny must come from
212 THE BAETLETT MYSTERY
"How shall we live?" she demanded.
"I have arranged that. Your marriage set-
tlement of two thousand five hundred dollars
a year is secured ; that is all. How big it seemed
in your eyes when you were a bride ! How little
now, though your real needs are less! I shall
take a sufficient salary as assistant manager
while I learn the business. It means two thou-
sand dollars a year for housekeeping, and I
have calculated that the sale of all our goods
will pay our personal debts and leave you and
me five thousand each to set up small establish-
Mrs. Carshaw flounced into a chair. "You
must be quite mad!" she cried.
"No, mother, sane quite sane for the first
time. Don't you believe me? Go to your law-
yers; the scheme is really theirs. They are
good business men, and congratulated me on
taking a wise step. So you see, mother, I really
cannot afford a fashionable wife."
"I am choking!" she gasped. For the mo-
ment anger filled her soul.
"Now, be reasonable, there's a good soul.
Five thousand in the bank, twenty-five hundred
a year to live on. Why, when you get used to
it you will say you were never so happy. What
about dinner? Shall we start economizing at
once? Let's pay off half a dozen servants be-
fore we sit down to a chop ! Eh, tears ! Well,
THE CRASH 213
they'll help. Sometimes they're good for
women. Send for me when you are calmer!"
With a look of real pity in his eyes he bent
and kissed her forehead. She would have kept
him with her, but he went away.
"No," he said, "no discussion, you remem-
ber ; and I must fix a whole heap of things be-
fore we dine!"
CARSHAW phoned the Bureau, asking for
Clancy or the chief. Both were out.
"Mr. Steingall will be here to-morrow," said
the official in charge. "Mr. Clancy asked me
to tell you, if you rang up, that he would be
away till Monday next."
This was Wednesday evening. Carshaw felt
that fate was using him ill, for Clancy was the
one man with whom he wanted to commune in
that hour of agony. He dined with his mother.
She, deeming him crazy after a severe attack
of calf-love, humored his mood. She was calm
now, believing that a visit to the lawyers next
day, and her own influence with the mill-man-
ager and the estate superintendent, would soon
put a different aspect on affairs.
A telegram came late: "No news."
He sought Senator Meiklejohn at his apart-
ment, but the fox, scenting hounds, had broken
"The Senator will be in Washington next
week," said the discreet Phillips. "At present,
sir, he is not in town."
CLANCY EXPLAINS 215
Carshaw made no further inquiry; he knew
it was useless. In the morning another tele-
gram: "No news!"
He set his teeth, and smilingly agreed to ac-
company his mother to the lawyers'. She came
away in tears. Those serious men strongly
approved of her son's project.
"Rex has all his father's grit," said the
senior partner. "In a little time you will be
convinced that he is acting rightly."
"I shall be dead!" she snapped.
The lawyer lifted his hands with a depreca-
ting smile. "You have no secrets from me, Mrs.
Carshaw," he said. "You are ten years my
junior, and insurance actuaries give women
longer lives than men when they have attained
a certain age."
Carshaw visited Helen Tower. She was
fluttered. By note he had asked for a tete-a-tete
interview. But his first words undeceived
"Where is Meiklejohn?" he asked.
"Do you mean Senator Meiklejohn?" she
"Yes; the man who acted in collusion with
you in kidnapping my intended wife."
"How dare you "
"Sit down, Helen; no heroics, please. Or
perhaps you would prefer that Ronald should
216 TEE BARTLETT MYSTERY,
"This tone, Rex to me!" She was crimson
11 You are right : it is better that Tower should
not be here. He might get a worse douche than
his plunge into the river. Now, about Meikle-
johnl? Why did he conspire with you and my
mother to carry off Winifred Bartlett?"
"I don't know."
" Surely there was some motive?"
"You are speaking in enigmas. I heard of
the girl from you. I have never seen her. If
your mother interfered, it was for your good."
He smiled cynically. The cold, far-away look
in his eyes was bitter to her soul, yet he had
never looked so handsome, so distinguished, as
in this moment when he was ruthlessly telling
her that another woman absorbed him utterly.
"What hold has Meiklejohn over you?" he
She simulated tears. "You have no right
to address me in that manner," she protested.
"There is a guilty bond somewhere, and I
shall find it out," he said coldly. "My mother
was your catspaw. You, Helen, may have been
spiteful, but Meiklejohn that sleek and smug
politician- I cannot ttiderstand him. The story
went that owing to an accidental likeness to
Meiklejohn your husband was nearly killed.
His assailant was a man named Voles. Voles
was an associate of Rachel Craik, the woman
CLANCY EXPLAINS 217
who poses as Winifred's aunt. That is the line
of inquiry. Do you know anything about it?"
"Not a syllable."
"Then I must appeal to Ronald."
"Do so. He is as much in the dark as I
"I fancy you are speaking the truth, Helen."
"Is it manly to come here and insult me?"
"Was it womanly to place these hounds on
the track of my poor Winifred? I shall spare
no one, Helen. Be warned in time. If you can
help me, do so. I may have pity on my friends, '
I shall have none for my enemies."
He was gone. Mrs. Tower, biting her lips
and clenching her hands in sheer rage, rushed
to an escritoire and unlocked it. A letter lay
there, a letter from Meiklejohn. It was dated
from the Marlborough-Blenheim Hotel, Atlantic
"Dear Mrs. Tower," it ran, "the Costa Rica
cotton concession is almost secure. The Presi-
dent will sign it any day now. But secrecy is
more than ever important. Tell none but Jacob.
The market must be kept in the dark. He can
begin operations quietly. The shares should
be at par within a week, and at five in a month.
Wire me the one word 'settled' when Jacob says
he is ready."
"At five in a month!"
Mrs. Tower was promised ten thousand of
those shares. Their nominal value was one
dollar. To-day they stood at a few cents. Fifty
thousand dollars! What a relief it would be!
Threatening dressmakers, impudent racing
agents asking for unpaid bets, sneering friends
who held her I. 0. U.'s for bridge losses, and
spoke of asking her husband to settle ; all these
paid triumphantly, and plenty in hand to battle
in the whirlpool for years it was a stake worth
And Meiklejohn? As the price of his help
in gaining a concession granted by a new com-
petitor among the cotton-producing States, he
would be given five shares to her one. Why did
he dread this girl? That was a fruitful affair
to probe. But he must be warned. Her lost
lover might be troublesome at a critical stage
in the affairs of the cotton market.
She wrote a telegram: "Settled, but await
letter." In the letter she gave him some de-
tails not all of Carshaw's visit. No woman
will ever reveal that she has been discarded
by a man whom slue boasted was tied to her
Carshaw sought the detective bureau, but
Steingall was away now, as well as Clancy.
"You'll be hearing from one of them" was the
enigmatic message he was given.
Eating his heart out in misery, he arranged
his affairs, received those two daily telegrams
CLANCY EXPLAINS 219
from Miss Goodman with their dreadful words,
4 'No news," and haunted the bookbinder's, and
Meiklejohn's door hoping to see some of the
crew of Winifred's persecutors. At the book-
binder's he learned of the visit of the supposed
clergyman, whose name, however, did not ap-
pear in the lists of any denomination.
At last arrived a telegram from Burlington,
Vermont. "Come and see me. Clancy."
Grown wary by experience, Carshaw ascer-
tained first that Clancy was really at Burling-
ton. Then he instructed Miss Goodman to tele-
graph -to him in the north, and quitted New
York by the night train.
In the sporting columns of an evening paper
he read of the sale of his polo ponies. The
scribe regretted the suggested disappearance
from the game of "one of the best Number
Ones" he had ever seen. The Long Island
estate was let already, and Mrs. Carshaw
would leave her expensive flat when the lease
Early next day he was greeted by Clancy.
"Glad to see you, Mr. Carshaw," said the
little man. "Been here before? No? Charm-
ing town. None of the infernal racket of New
York about life in Burlington. Any one who
got bitten by that bug here would be afflicted
like the Gadarene swine and rush into Lake
Champlain. Walk to the hotel? It's a fine
220 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
morning, and you'll get some bully views of
the Adiroudacks as you climb the hill."
"Winifred is gone. Hasn't the Bureau kepi
"I've had Winifred on my mind for days,"
he said irritably. "Can't you forget her for
half an hour?"
"She's gone, I tell you. Spirited away the
very day I asked her to marry me."
"Well, well. Why didn't you ask her
"I had to arrange my affairs. I am poor
now. How could I marry Winifred under false
"What, then? Did she love you for your
"Mr. Clancy, I am tortured. Why have you
brought me here?"
"To stop you from playing Meikle John's
game. I hear that you camp outside his apart-
ment-house. You and I are going back to New
York this very day, and the Bureau will soon
find your Winifred. By the way, how did you
happen onto the Senator's connection with the
Taking hope, Carshaw told his story. Clancy
listened while they breakfasted. Then he un-
folded a record of local events.
"The Bureau has known for some time thai;
VLANCY EXPLAINS 221
Senator Meiklejohn 's past offered some rather
remarkable problems," he said, dropping his
bantering air and speaking seriously. "We
have never ceased making guarded inquiries. I
am here now for that very purpose. Some
thirty years ago, on the death of his father, he
and his brother, Ralph Vane Meiklejohn, in-
herited an old-establised banking business in
[Vermont. Ralph was a bit of a rake, but local
opinion regarded William as a steady-going,
domesticated man who would uphold the family
traditions. There was no ink on the blotter
during upward of ten years, and William was
already a candidate for Congress when Ralph
was involved in a scandal which caused some
talk at the time. The name of a governess in
a local house was associated with his, and her
name was Bartlett."
Carshaw glanced at the detective with a quick
uneasiness, which Clancy pretended not to no-
"I have no proof, but absolutely no doubt,"
he continued, "that this woman is now known
as Rachel Craik. She fell into Ralph Meikle-
john's clutches then, and has remained his slave
ever since. Two years later there was a terrific
sensation here. A man named Marchbanks was
found lying dead in a lakeside quarry, having
fallen or been thrown into it. This quarry was
situated near the Meiklejohn house. Mrs,
Marchbanks, a ward of Meikle John's father,
died in childbirth as the result of shock when
she heard of her husband's death, and inquiry
showed that all her money had been swallowed
up in loans to her husband for Stock Exchange
speculation. Mrs Marchbanks was a noted
beauty, and her fortune was estimated at nearly
half a million dollars. It was all the more
amazing that her husband should have lost such
a great sum in reckless gambling, seeing that
those who remember him say he was a nice-
mannered gentleman of the old type, devoted
to his wife, and with a passion for cultivating
orchids. Again, why should Mrs. Marchbanks 's
bankers and guardians allow her to be ruined
by a thoughtless fool!"
Clancy seemed to be asking himself these
questions ; but Carshaw, so far from New York,
and with a mind ever dwelling on Winifred,
"You didn't bring me here to tell me about
some long-forgotten mystery 1 ?"
"Ah, quit that hair-trigger business!" snap-
ped Clancy. "You just listen, an' maybe you'll
hear something interesting. Ealph Vane Meik-
lejohn left Vermont soon afterward. Twelve
years ago a certain Ralph Voles was sentenced
to five years in a penitentiary for swindling.
Mrs. Marchbanks 's child lived. It was a girl,
and baptized as Winifred. She was looked after
CLANCY EXPLAINS 223^
as a matter of charity by William Meiklejohn,
and entrusted to the care of Miss Bartlett, the
Carshaw was certainly "interested" now.
' ' Winifred ! My Winifred ! " he cried, grasp-
ing the detective's shoulder in his excite-
4 'Tut, tut!" grinned Clancy. "Guess the
story's beginning to grip. Yes. Winifred is
'the image of her mother,' said Voles. She
must be 'taken away from New York.' Why?
Why did this same Ralph vanish from Vermont
after her father's death 'by accident"? Why
does a wealthy and influential Senator join in
the plot against her, invoking the aid of your
mother and of Mrs. Tower! These are ques-
tions to be asked, but not yet. First, you must
get back your Winifred, Carshaw, and take care
that you keep her when you get her."
"But how? Tell me how to find her!" came
the fierce demand.
"If you jump at me like that I'll make you
stop here another week," said Clancy. "Man
alive, I hate humbug as much as any man;
but don't you see that the Bureau must make
sure of its case before it acts? We can't go
before a judge until we have better evidence
than the vague hearsay of twenty years ago.
But, for goodness' sake, next time you grab
Winifred, rush her to the nearest clergyman
224 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
and make her Mrs. Carshaw, Jr. That'll help
a lot. Leave me to get the Senator and the
rest of the bunch. Now, if you'll be good, I'll
show you the house where your Winifred was
IN THE TOILS
EAST ORANGE seemed to be a long way from
New York when Winifred hastened to the
appointment at " Gateway House," traveling
thither by way of the Tube and the Lackawanna
More and more did it seem strange that a
theatrical agent should fix on such a rendez-
vous, until a plausible reason suggested itself:
possibly, some noted impresario had chosen
this secluded retreat, and the agent had ar-
ranged a meeting there between his client and
the great man whose Olympian nod gave suc-
cess or failure to aspirants for the stage.
The letter itself was reassuringly explicit as
to the route she should follow.
"On leaving the station," it said, "turn to
the right and walk a mile along the only road
that presents itself until you see, on the left,
a large green gate bearing the name 'Gate-
way House.' Walk in. The house itself is hid-
den by trees, and stands in spacious grounds.
If you follow these directions, you will have no
need to ask the way."
226 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
The description of the place betokened that
it was of some local importance, and hope re-
vived somewhat in her sorrowing heart at the
impression that perhaps, after all, it was better
she had failed in finding work at the bindery.
Notwithstanding the charming simplicity of
her nature, Winifred would not be a woman if
she did not know she was good-looking. The
stage offered a career ; work in the factory only
yielded existence. Eecent events had added a
certain strength of character to her sweet face ;
and Miss Goodman, who happened to be an
expert dressmaker, had used the girl's leisure
in her lodgings to turn her nimble ringers to
account. Hence, Winifred was dressed with
neat elegance, and the touch of winter keen-
ness in the air gave her a splendid color as she
hurried out of the station many minutes late
for her appointment.
Would she be asked to sing, she wondered?
She had no music with her, and had never
touched a piano since her music-master's anx-
iety to train her voice had been so suddenly
frustrated by Rachel Craik. But she knew
many of the solos from "Faust," "Rigoletto,"
and "Carmen"; surely, among musical people,
there would be some appreciation of her skill
if tested by this class of composition, as com-
pared with the latest rag-time melody or gush-
ing cabaret ballad.
IN THE TOILS 227
Busy with such thoughts, she hastened along
the road, until she awoke with a start to the
knowledge that she was opposite Gateway
House. Certainly the retreat was admirable
from the point of view of a man surfeited with
life on the Great White Way. Indeed, it looked
very like a private lunatic asylum or home for
inebriates, with its lofty walls studded with
broken glass, and its solid gate crowned with
Winifred tried the door. It opened readily.
She was surprised that so pretentious an abode
had no lodge-keeper's cottage. There were
signs of few vehicles passing over the weed-
grown gravel drive, and such marks as existed
were quite recent.
She was so late, however, that her confused
mind did not trouble about these things, and
she sped on gracefully, soon coming in full
view of the house itself, it was now almost
dark, and the grounds seemed very lonely ; but
the presence of lights in the secluded mansion
gave earnest of some one awaiting her there.
She fancied she heard a noise, like the snap-
ping of a latch or lock behind her. She turned
her head, but saw no one. Fowle, hiding among
the evergreens, had run with nimble feet and
sardonic smile to bolt the gate as soon as she
was out of sight.
And now Winifred was at the front door,
228 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
timidly pulling a bell. A man strolled with a
marked limp around the house from a conser-
vatory. He was a tall, strongly built person,
and something in the dimly seen outline sent a
thrill of apprehension through her.
But the door opened.
"I have come " she began.
The words died away in sheer affright. Glow-
ering at her, with a queer look of gratified
menace, was Rachel Craik!
"So I see," was the grim retort. "Come in,
Winnie, by all means. Where have you been
all these weeks?"
"There is some mistake," she faltered, white
with sudden terror and nameless suspicions.
"My agent told me to come here "
"Quite right. Be quick, or you'll miss the
last train home," growled the voice of Voles
Roughly, though not violently, he pushed her
inside, and the door closed.
He snapped at Rachel: "She'd be yelling for
help in another second, and you never know
who may be passing."
Now, Winifred was not of the order of women
who faint in the presence of danger. Her love
had given her a great strength; her suffering
had deepened her fine nature; and her very soul
rebelled against the cruel subterfuge which had
been practised to separate her from her lover.
/# THE TOILS 229
She saw, with the magic intuition of her sex,
that the very essence of a deep-laid plot was
that Eex and she should be kept apart.
The visit of Mrs. Carshaw, then, was only a
part of the same determined scheme? Rex's
mother had been a puppet in the hands of
those who carried her to Connecticut, who
strove so determinedly to take her away when
Carshaw put in an appearance, and who had
tricked her into keeping this bogus appoint-
ment. She would defy them, face death itself
rather than yield.
In the America of to-day, nothing short of
desperate crime could long keep her from
Rex's arms. What a weak, silly, romantic
girl she had been not to trust in him absolutely !
The knowledge nerved her to a fine scorn.
"What right have you to treat me in this
way?" she cried vehemently. "You have lied
to me ; brought me here by a forged letter. Let
me go instantly, and perhaps my just indigna-
tion may not lead me to tell my agent how you
have dared to use his name with false pre-
"Ho, ho!" sang out Voles. "The little bird
pipes an angry note. Be pacified, my sweet
linnet. You were getting into bad company.
It was the duty of your relatives to rescue
'My relatives! Who are they who claim
230 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
kinship? I see here one who posed as my aunt
for many years "
Miss Craik affected a croak of regretful pro-
Winifred's eyes shot lightnings.
"Yes. I am sure you are not my aunt. Many
things I can recall prove it to me. Wliy do you
never mention my father and mother? What
wrong have I done to any living soul that, ever
since you were mixed up in the attack on Mr.
Ronald Tower, you should deal with me as if
I were a criminal or a lunatic, and seek to part
me from those who would befriend me?"
"Hush, little girl," interposed Voles, with
mock severity. "You don't know what you're
saying. You are hurting your dear aunt's feel-
ings. She is your aunt. I ought to know, con-
sidering that you are my daughter!"
Now, indeed, she felt ready to dare dragons.
This coarse, brutal giant of a man her father !
Her gorge rose at the suggestion. Almost
fiercely she resolved to hold her own against
these persecutors who scrupled not to use
any lying device that would suit their pur-
"Yes," he cried truculently. "Don't I come
up to your expectations?"
"If you are my father," she said, with a
IN THE TOILS 231
strange self-possession that came to her aid in
this trying moment, "where is my mother ?"
"Sorry to say she died long since."
"Did you murder her as you tried to murder
The chance shot went home, though it hit her
callous hearer in a way she could not then ap-
preciate. He swore violently.
"You're my daughter, I tell you," he vocif-
erated, "and the first thing you have to learn
is obedience. Your head has been turned, young
lady, by your pretty Rex and his nice ways.
I'll have to teach you not to address me in that
fashion. Take her to her room, Rachel."
Driven to frenzy by a dreadful and wholly
unexpected predicament, Winifred cast off the
hand her "aunt" laid on her shoulder.
"Let me go!" she screamed. "I will not ac-
company you. I do not believe a word you say.
If you touch me, I shall defend myself."
"Spit-fire, eh?" she heard Voles say. There
was something of a struggle. She never knew
exactly what happened. She found herself
clasped in his giant arms and heard his half
"Now, my butterfly, don't beat your little
wings so furiously, or you'll hurt yourself."
He carried her, screaming, up-stairs, and
pushed her into a large room. Rachel Craik
followed, with set face and angry words.
232 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
"Ungrateful girl!" was her cry. " After all
I've done for you!"
"You stole me from my mother," sobbed
Winifred despairingly. "I am sure you did.
You are afraid now lest some one should rec-
ognize me. I am 'the image of my mother'
that horrible man said, and I am to be taken
away because I resemble her. It is you who
are frightened, not I. I defy you. Even Mrs.
Carshaw knew my face. I scorn you, I say, and
if you think your devices can deceive me or
keep Rex from me, you are mistaken. Before
it is too late, let me go!"
Rachel Craik was, indeed, alarmed by the
girl's hysterical outpouring. But Winifred's
taunts worked harm in one way. They revealed
most surely that the danger dreaded by both
Voles and Meiklejohn did truly exist. From
that instant Rachel Craik, who felt beneath her
rough exterior some real tenderness for the girl
she had reared, became her implacable foe.
"You had better calm yourself," she said
quietly. "If you care to eat, food will soon be
brought for you and Mr. Grey. He is your
fellow-boarder for a few days ! ' '
Then Winifred saw, for the first time, that
the spacious room held another occupant. Re-
clining in a big chair, and scowling at her, was
Mick the Wolf, whose arm Carshaw had broken
IN THE TOILS 233
"Yes," growled that worthy, "I'm not the
most cheerful company, missy, but my other
arm is strong enough to put that fellow of yours
out o' gear if he butts in on me ag'in. So just
cool your pretty HI head, will you? I'm boss
here, and if you rile me it'll be sort o' awkward
How Winifred passed the next few hours she
could scarcely remember afterward. She noted,
in dull agony, that the windows of the sitting-
room she shared with Mick the Wolf were
barred with iron. So, too, was the window of
her bedroom. The key and handle of the bed-
room lock had been taken away. Rachel Craik
was her jailer, a maimed scoundrel her compan-
ion and assistant-warder.
But, when the first paroxysms of helpless
pain and rage had passed, her faith returned.
She prayed long and earnestly, and help was
vouchsafed. Appeal to her captors was vain,
she knew, so she sought the consolation that is
never denied to all who are afflicted.
Neither Rachel Craik, nor the sullen bandit,
nor the loud-voiced rascal who had dared to say
he was her father, could understand the cheer-
ful patience with which she met them next
"She's a puzzle," said Voles in the privacy
of the apartment beneath. "I must dope out
some way of fixin' things. She'll never come
234 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
to heel again, Rachel. That fool Carshaw has
turned her head."
He tramped to and fro impatiently. His
ankle had not yet forgotten the wrench it re-
ceived on the Boston Post Road. Suddenly he
banged a huge fist on a sideboard.
"Gee!" he cried, "that should turn the trick!
1*11 marry her off to Fowle. If it wasn't for
other considerations I'd be almost tempted
He paused. Even his fierce spirit quailed at
the venom that gleamed from Rachel Craik's
MOTHER AND SON
A TELEGRAM reached Carshaw before he left
Burlington with Clancy. He hoped it contained
news of Winifred, but it was of a nature that
imposed one more difficulty in his path.
"Not later than the twentieth," wired the
manager of the Carshaw Mills in Massachu-
setts. -Carshaw himself had inquired the latest
date on which he would be expected to start
The offer was his own, and he could not in
honor begin the new era by breaking his pledge.
The day was Saturday, November 11. On the
following Monday week he must begin to learn
the rudiments of cotton-spinning.
"What's up?" demanded Clancy, eying the
telegram, for Carshaw 's face had hardened at
the thought that, perhaps, in the limited time at
his disposal his quest might fail. He passed
the typed slip to the detective.
"Meaning?" said the latter, after a quick
Carshaw explained. "I'll find her," he
added, with a catch of the breath. "I must
236 TEE BARTLETT MYSTERY
find her. God in Heaven, man, I'll go mad if I
''Cut out the stage stuff," said Clancy. "By
this day week the Bureau will find a bunch of
girls who 're not lost yet only planning it."
Touched by the misery in Carshaw's eyes, he
"What you really want is a marriage license.
The minute you set eyes on Winifred rush her
to the City Hall."
"Once we meet we'll not part again," came
the earnest vow. Somehow, the pert little
man's overweening egotism was soothing, and
Carshaw allowed his mind to dwell on the hap-
piness of holding Winifred in his arms once
more rather than the uncertain prospect of at-
taining such bliss.
Indeed, he was almost surprised by the ardor
of his love for her. When he could see her each
day, and amuse himself by playing at the pre-
tense that she was to earn her own living, there
was a definite satisfaction in the thought that
soon they would be married, when all this pleas-
ant make-believe would vanish. But now that
she was lost to him, and probably enduring no
common misery, the complacency of life had
suddenly given place to a fierce longing for a
glimpse of her, for the sound of her voice, for
the shy glance of her beautiful eyes.
"Now, let's play ball," said Clancy when
MOTHER AND SON 237
they were in a train speeding south. "Has any
complete search of Winifred's rooms been
"How do you mean?"
"Did you look in every hole and corner for
a torn envelope, a twisted scrap of paper, a car
transfer, any mortal thing that might reveal
why she went out and did not return!"
"I told you of the bookbinder's note "
"You sure did," broke in Clancy. "You also
went to the bookbinder s'teen times. Are you
certain there was nothing else?"
"No I didn't like how could I peer and
"You'd make a bum detective. Imagine that
poor girl crying her eyes out in a cold dark cell
all because you were too squeamish to give her
belongings the once over!"
Carshaw was not misled by Clancy's manner.
He knew that his friend was only consumed by
impatience to be on the trail.
"You've fired plenty of questions at me," he
said quietly. "Now it's my turn. I understand
why you came to Burlington, but where is Stein-
gall all this time?"
1 ' That big stiff ! How do I know ! ' '
In a word, Clancy was uncommunicative dur-
ing a whole hour. When the mood passed he
spoke of other things, but, although it was ten
at night when they reached New York, he raced
Carshaw straight to East Twenty-Seventh'
Street and Miss Goodman.
There, in a few seconds, he was reading the
agent's genuine note to Winifred that con-
taining the assurance that no appointment had
been made for "East Orange."
The letter concluded:
" At first I assumed that a message intended for some
other correspondent had been sent, to me by error. Now, on
reperusal, I am almost convinced that you wrote me under
some misapprehension. Will you kindly explain how it arose ? "
Clancy, great as ever on such occasions, re-
frained from saying: "I told you so."
"We'll call up the agent Monday, just for
the sake of thoroughness," he said. "Mean-
while, be ready to come with me to East Orange
to-morrow at 8 A.M."
"Why not to-night?" urged Carshaw, afire
with a rage to be up and doing.
"What? To sleep there? Young man, you
don't know East Orange. Eun away home to
"Where have you been?" inquired Mrs. Car-
shaw when her son entered. Her air was sub-
dued. She had suffered a good deal these later
"Still pursuing that girl?"
MOTHER AND SOW "239
"Have you found her?"
"Rex, have you driven me wholly from your
"No; that would be impossible. Winifred
would not wish it, callous as you were to her."
"Do not be too hard on me. I am sore
wounded. It is a great deal for a woman to be
cast into the outer darkness."
"Nonsense, mother, you are emerging into
light. If your friends are so ready to drop you
because you are poor with the exceeding pov-
erty of twenty-five hundred a year of what
value were they as friends? When you know
Winifred you will be glad. You will feel as
Dante felt when he emerged from the Inferno."
"So you are determined to marry her?"
"Unquestionably. And mark you, mother,
when the clouds pass, and we are rich again,
you will be proud of your daughter-in-law. She
will bear all your skill in dressing. Gad! how
the women of your set will envy her complex-
Mrs. Carshaw smiled wanly at that. She
knew her "set," as Bex termed the Four Hun-
"Why is she called Bartlett?" she inquired
after a pause, and Rex looked at her in sur-
prise. "I have a reason," she continued. "Is
that her real name?"
240 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
"Now," he cried, "I admit you are showing
some of your wonted cleverness."
"Ah! Then I am right. I have been think-
ing. Cessation from society duties is at least
restful. Last night, lying awake and wonder-
ing where you were, my thoughts reverted to
that girl. I remembered her face. All at once
a long-forgotten chord of memory hummed its
note. Twenty years ago, when you were a little
boy, Rex, I met a Mrs. Marchbanks. She was
a sweet singer. Does your Winifred sing?"
Carshaw drew his chair closer to his mother
and placed an arm around her shoulder.
"Yes," he said.
"Bex," she murmured brokenly, hiding her
face, "do you forgive me?"
"Mother, I ask you to forgive me if I said
There was silence for a while. Then she
raised her eyes. They were wet, but smiling.
"This Mrs. Marchbanks," she went on
bravely, "had your Winifred's face. She was
wealthy and altogether charming. Her hus-
band, too, was a gentleman. She was a ward of
the elder Meiklejohn, the present Senator's
father. My recollection of events is vague, but
there was some scandal in Burlington."
"I know all, or nearly all, about it. That is
why I was called to Vermont. Mother, in fu-
ture, you will work with me, not against me?"
MOTHER AND SON 241
"I will indeed I will," she sobbed.
"Then you must not drop your car. I have
money to pay for that. Keep in with Helen
Tower, and find out what hold she has on Meik-
lejohn. You are good at that, you know. You
understand your quarry. You will be worth
twenty detectives. First, discover where Meik-
lejohn is. He has bolted, or shut himself
"You must trust me fully, or I shall not see
the pitfalls. Tell me everything."
He obeyed. Before he had ended, Mrs. Car-
shaw was weeping again, but this time it was
out of sympathy with Winifred. Next morn-
ing, although it was Sunday, her smart limou-
sine took her to the Tower's house. Mrs.
Tower was at home.
"I have heard dreadful things about you,
Sarah," she purred. "What on earth is the
matter? Why have you given up your place
on Long Island?"
"A whim of Rex's, my dear. He is still in-
fatuated over that girl."
"She must have played her cards well."
"Yes, indeed. One does not look for such
skill in the lower orders. And how she de-
ceived me! I went to see her, and she prom-
ised better behavior. Now I find she has gone
again, and Rex will not tell me where she is.
po you knowj"
242 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
"If The creature never enters my mind."
"Of course not. She does not interest you,
but I am the boy's mother, and you cannot im-
agine, Helen, how this affair worries me."
"My poor Sarah! It is too bad."
"Such a misfortune could not have happened
had his father lived. We women are of no use
where a headstrong man is concerned. I am
thinking of consulting Senator Meiklejohn. He
is discreet and experienced."
"But he is not in town."
"What a calamity! Do tell me where I can
"I have reason to know that Rex would not
brook any interference from him."
"Oh, no, of course not. It would never do to
permit his influence to appear. I was thinking
that the Senator might act with the girl, this
wonderful Winifred. He might frighten her,
or bribe her, or something of the sort."
Now, Helen Tower was not in Meiklejohn 's
confidence. He was compelled to trust her in
the matter of the Costa Rica concession, but
he was far too wise to let her into any secret
where Winifred was concerned. Anxious to
stab with another's hand, she thought that Mrs.
Carshaw might be used to punish her wayward
"I'm not sure " She paused doubtfully.
"I do happen to know Mr. Meikle John's where-
MOTHER AND SON 243
abouts, but it is most important he should not
" Helen, you used to like Rex more than a
little. With an effort, I can save him still."
"But he may suspect you, have you watched,
your movements tracked."
Mrs. Carshaw laughed. "My dear, he is far
too much taken up with his Winifred."
"Has he found her, then?"
"Does he not see her daily?"
Here were cross purposes. Mrs. Tower was
"If I tell you where the Senator is, you are
sure Rex will not follow you?"
"His address is the Marlborough-Blenheim,
"Helen, you're a dear! I shall go there to-
morrow, if necessary. But it will be best to
write him first. ' '
"Don't say I told you."
"Above all things, Helen, I am discreet."
"I fear he cannot do much. Your son is
"Don't you understand? Rex is quite un-
manageable. I depend wholly on the girl and
Senator Meiklejohn is just the man to deal with
They kissed farewell alas, those Judas
kisses of women I Both were satisfied* each be*
244 TEE BARTLETT MYSTERY
lieving she had hoodwinked the other. Mrs.
Carshaw returned to her flat to await her son's
arrival. If the trail at East Orange proved
difficult he promised to be home for dinner.
"There will be a row if Rex meets Meikle-
john," she communed. "Helen will be furious
with me. What do I care? I have won back
my son's love. I have not many years to live.
What else have I to work for if not for his
So one woman in New York that night was
fairly well content. There may be, as the
Chinese proverb has it, thirty-six different
kinds of mothers-in-law, but there is only one
STEINGALL, not Clancy, presented his bulk at
Carsliaw's apartment next morning. He con-
trived to have a few minutes' private talk with
Mrs. Carshaw while her son was dressing.
Early as it was, he lighted a second cigar as he
stepped into the automobile, for Carshaw
thought it an economy to retain a car.
''Surprised to see me?" he began. "Well,
it's this way. We may drop in for a rough-
house to-day. Between them, Voles and *Mlck
the Wolf,' own three sound legs and three
strong arms. I can't risk Clancy. He's too
precious. He kicked like a mule, of course, but
I made it an order."
"What of the local police?" said Carhsaw.
"Nix on the cops," laughed the chief. "You
share the popular delusion that a policeman can
arrest any one at sight. He can do nothing of
the sort, unless he and his superior officers care
to face a whacking demand for damages. And
what charge can we bring against Voles and
company? Winifred bolted of her own accord.
We must tread lightly, Mr. Carshaw. Really,
246 TEE BAETLETT MYSTERY
I shouldn't be here at all. I came only to help,
to put you on the right trail, to see that Wini-
fred is not detained by force if she wishes to
accompany you. Do you get me?"
"I believe there is good authority for the
statement that the law is an ass," grumbled
"Not the law. Personal liberty has to be
safeguarded by the law. Millions of men have
died to uphold that principle. Remember, too,
that I may have to explain in court why I did
so-and-so. Strange as it may sound, I've been
taught wisdom by legal adversity. Now, let's
talk of the business in hand. It's an odd thing,
but people who wish to do evil deeds often
select secluded country places to live in. I
don't mind betting a box of cigars that 'East
Orange' means a quiet, old-fashioned locality
where there isn't a crime once in a genera-
"Some spot one would never suspect, eh?"
"Yes, in a sense. But if ever I set up as
a crook which is unlikely, as my pension is
due in eighteen months I'll live in a Broad-
"I thought the city police kept a very close
eye on evil-doers."
"Yes, when we know them. But your real
expert is not known; once held he's done for.
Of course he tries again, but he is a marked
THE HUNT 247
man he has lost his confidence. Nevertheless,
he will always try to be with the crowd. There
is safety in numbers."
"Do you mean that East Orange is a place
favorable to our search?"
"Of course it is. The police, the letter-
carriers, and the storekeepers, know everybody.
They can tell us at once of several hundred
people who certainly had nothing to do with
the abduction of a young lady. There will re-
main a few dozens who might possibly be con-
cerned in such an affair. Inquiry will soon
whittle -them down to three or four individuals.
What a different job it would be if we had to
search a New York precinct, which, I take it,
is about as populous as East Orange."
This was a new point of view to Carshaw, and
it cheered him proportionately. He stepped on
the gas, and a traffic policeman at Forty-Second
Street and Seventh Avenue cocked an eye at
"Steady," laughed Steingall. "It would be
a sad blow for mother if we were held for
furious driving. These blessed machines jump
from twelve to forty miles an hour before you
can wink twice."
Carshaw abated his ardor. Nevertheless,
they were in East Orange forty minutes after
crossing the ferry.
Unhappily, from that hour, the pace slack-
248 THE BAETLETT MYSTERY
ened. Gateway House had been rented from a
New York agent for "Mr. and Mrs. Forest,'*
Westerners who wished to reside in New Jer-
sey a year or so.
Its occupants had driven thither from New
York. Eachel Craik, heavily veiled and quietly
attired, did her shopping in the nearest suburb,
and had choice of more than one line of rail.
So East Orange knew them not, nor had it even
In nowise discouraged, the man from the
Bureau set about his inquiry methodically. He
interviewed policemen, railway officials, post-
men, and cabmen. Although the day was Sun-
day, he tracked men to their homes and led
them to talk. Empty houses, recently let
houses, houses tenanted by people who were
"not particular" as to their means of getting
a living, divided his attention with persons who
answered to the description of Voles, Fowle,
Rachel, or even the broken-armed Mick the
Wolf ; while he plied every man with a minutely
accurate picture of Winifred.
Hither and thither darted the motor till East
Orange was scoured and noted, and among
twenty habitations jotted in the detective's note-
book the name of Gateway House figured. It
was slow work, this task of elimination, but
they persisted, meeting rebuff after rebuff, es-
THE HUNT 249
pecially in the one or two instances where a
couple of sharp-looking strangers in a car were
distinctly not welcome. They had luncheon at
a local hotel, and, by idle chance, were not
pleased by the way in which the meal was
So, when hungry again, and perhaps a trifle
dispirited as the day waned to darkness with no
result, they went to another inn to procure a
meal. This time they were better looked after.
Instead of a jaded German waiter they were
served by the landlord's daughter, a neat, be-
frilled young damsel, who cheered them by her
smile ; though, to be candid, she was anxious to
get out for a walk with her young man.
4 'Have you traveled far!" she asked, by way
of talk while laying the table.
"From New York," said Steingall.
"At this hour in a carl"
"Yes. Is that a remarkable thing here?"
"Not the car; but people in motors either
whizz through of a morning going away down
the coast, or whizz back again of an evening
returning to New York."
"Ah!" put in Carshaw, "here is a pretty
head which holds brains. It goes in for ratio-
cinative reasoning. Now, I'll be bound to say
that this pretty head, which thinks, can help
250 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
A good deal of this was lost on the girl, but
she caught the compliment and smiled.
"It all depends on what you want to know,"
"I really want to find a private prison of
some sort," he said. "The sort of place where
a nice-looking young lady like you might be
kept in against her will by nasty, ill-disposed
"There is only one house of that kind in the
town, and that is out of it, as an Irishman
"And where is it?"
"It's called Gateway House about a mile
along the road from the depot."
Steingall, inclined at first to doubt the ex-
pediency of gossip with the girl, now pricked
up his ears.
"Who lives in Gateway House?" he asked.
"No one that I know of at the moment," she
answered. "It used to belong to a mad doc-
tor. I don't mean a doctor who was mad,
"No matter about his sanity. Is he dead?"
"No, in prison. There was a trial two years
"Oh! I remember the affair. A patient was
beaten to death. So the house is empty!"
"It is, unless some one has rented it recently.
I was taken through the place months ago. The
THE HUNT 251
rooms are all right, and it has beautiful
grounds, but the windows frightened me. They
were closely barred with iron, and the doors
were covered with locks and chains. There
were some old beds there, too, with straps on
them. Oh, I quite shivered!"
''After we have eaten will you let us drive
you in that direction in my car?" said Car-
She simpered and blushed slightly. "I've
an appointment with a friend," she admitted,
wondering whether the swain would protest too
strongly if she accepted the invitation.
1 ' Bring him also, ' ' said Carshaw. ' ' I assume
it's a 'he.' "
"Oh, that'll be all right!" she cried.
So in the deepening gloom the automobile
flared with fierce eyes along the quiet road to
Gateway House, and in its seat of honor sat
the hotel maid and her voung man.
"That is the place," she said, after the, to
her, all too brief run.
"Is this the only entrance?" demanded the
chief, as he stepped out to try the gate.
"Yes. The high wall runs right round the
property. It's quite a big place."
' ' Locked ! " he announced. ' * Probably empty,
He tried squinting through the keyhole to
catch a gleam of interior light.
252 TEE BARTLETT MYSTERY.,
"No use in doin' that," announced the young
man. "The house stands way back, an' is hid-
den by trees."
"I mean having a look at it, wall or no wall,"
"But the gate is spiked and the wall covered
with broken glass," said the girl.
"Such obstacles can be surmounted by lad-
ders and folded tarpaulins, or even thick over-
coats," observed Steingall.
"I'm a plumber," said the East Orange man.
"If you care to run back to my place, I c'n
give you a telescope ladder and a tarpaulin.
But perhaps we may butt into trouble?"
"For shame, Jim! I thought you'd do a
little thing like that to help a girl in distress."
"First I've heard of any girl."
"My name is Carshaw," came the prompt as-
surance. "Here's my card; read it by the lamp
there. I'll guarantee you against consequences,
pay any damages, and reward you if our search
"Jim " commenced the girl reproachfully,
but he stayed her with a squeeze.
"Cut it out, Polly," he said. "You don't
wish me to start housebreaking, do you? But if
there's a lady to be helped, an' Mr. Carshaw
says it's O.K., I'm on. A fellow who was with
Funston in the Philippines won't sidestep a
little job of that sort."
THE HUNT 253
Polly, appeased and delighted with the ad-
venture, giggled. "I'd think not, indeed."
"It is lawbreaking, but I am inclined to back
you up," confided Steingall to Carshaw when
the car was humming back to East Orange.
"At the worst you can only be charged with
trespass, as my evidence will be taken that you
had no unlawful intent."
"Won't you come with me?"
"Better not. You see, I am only helping you.
You have an excuse ; I, as an official, have none
if a row springs up and doors have to be
kicked open, for instance. Moreover, this is the
State of New Jersey and outside my baili-
wick. ' '
"Perhaps the joker behind us may be use-
"He will be, or his girl will know the reason
why. He may have fought in every battle in
the Spanish War, but she has more pep in
The soldierly plumber was as good as his
word. He produced the ladder and the tar-
paulin, and a steel wrench as well.
"If you do a thing at all do it thor-
oughly. That's what Funston taught us," he
Carshaw thanked him, and in a few minutes
they were again looking at the tall gate and the
dark masses of the garden trees silhouetted
against the sky. They had not encountered
many wayfarers during their three journeys.
The presence of a car at the entrance to such
a pretentious place would not attract attention,
and the scaling of the wall was only a matter
of half a minute.
"No use in raising the dust by knocking. Go
over," counseled Steingall. "Try to open the
gate. Then you can return' the ladder and tar-
paulin at once. Otherwise, leave them in posi-
tion. If satisfied that the house is inhabited
by those with whom you have no concern, come
away unnoticed, if possible."
Carshaw climbed the ladder, sat on the tar-
paulin, and dropped the ladder on the inner side
of the wall. They heard him shaking the gate.
His head reappeared over the wall.
"Locked," he said, "and the key gone. I'll
come back and report quickly. ' '
Jim, who had been nudged earnestly several
times by his companion, cried quickly:
"Isn't your friend goin' along, too, mister?"
"No. I may as well tell you that I am a
detective," put in Steingall.
"Gee whizz! Why didn't you cough it up
earlier? Hoi' on, there! Lower that ladder.
I'm with you."
"Good old U. S. Army!" said Steingall, and
Polly glowed with pride.
Jim climbed rapidly to Carshaw 's side, the
THE HUNT 255
latter being astride the wall. Then they van-
For a long time the two in the car listened
intently. A couple of cyclists passed, and a
small boy, prowling about, took an interest in
the car, but was sternly warned off by Stein-
gall. At last they caught the faint but easily
discerned sound of heavy blows and broken
" Things are happening," cried Steingall.
"I wish I had gone with them."
"Ohj I hope my Jim won't get hurt," said
Polly, somewhat pale now.
They heard more furious blows and the
crash of glass.
" Confound it!" growled Steingall. "Why
didn't I go?"
"If I stood on the back of the car against
the gate, and you climbed onto my shoulders,
you might manage to stand between the spikes
and jump down," cried Polly desperately.
"Great Scott, but you're the right sort of
girl. The wall is too high, but the gate is pos-
sible. I'll try it," he answered.
With difficulty, having only slight knowledge
of heavy cars, he backed the machine against
the gate. Then the girl caught the top with
her hands, standing on the back cushions.
Steingall was no light weight for her soft
shoulders, but she uttered no word until she
256 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
heard him drop heavily on the gravel drive
''Thank goodness!" she whispered. "There
are three of them now. I only wish I was there,
"HE WHO FIGHTS AND RUNS AWAY "
"I DON'T like the proposition, an' that's a
fact, ' ' muttered Fowle, lifting a glass of whisky
and glancing furtively at Voles, when the dom-
ineering eyes of the superior scoundrel were
averted for a moment.
" Whether you like it or not, you've got to
lump it," was the ready answer.
"I don't see that. I agreed to help you up
to a certain point "
Voles swung around at him furiously, as a
mastiff might turn on a wretched mongrel.
"Say, listen! If I'm up to the neck in this
business, you're in it over your ears. You
can't duck now, you white-livered cur! The
cops know you. They had you in their hands
once, and warned you to leave this girl alone.
If I stand in the dock you'll stand there, too,
and I'm not the man to say the word that'll
"But she's with her aunt. She's under age.
Her aunt is her legal guardian. I know a bit
about the law, you see. This notion of yours
258 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
is a bird of another color. Sham weddings are
no joke. It will mean ten years."
' * Who wants you to go in for a sham wedding,
"You do, or I haven't got the hang of
things. ' '
Voles looked as though he would like to
hammer his argument into Fowle with his fists.
He forebore. There was too much at stake to
allow a sudden access of bad temper to defeat
He was tired of vagabondage. It was true,
as he told his brother long before, that he hun-
gered for the flesh-pots of Egypt, for the life
and ease and gayety of New York. An unex-
pected vista had opened up before him. When
he came back to the East his intention was to
squeeze funds out of Meiklejohn wherewith to
plunge again into the outer wilderness. Now
events had conspired to give him some chance
of earning a fortune quickly, had not the irony
of fate raised the winsome face and figure of
Winifred as a bogey from the grave to bar his
So he choked back his wrath, and shoved the
decanter of spirits across the table to his mo-
rose companion. They were sitting in the hall
of Gateway House, about the hour that Car-
shaw and the detective, tired by their weary
hunt through East Orange, sought the inn.
"HE WHO FIGHTS AND RUNS" 259
"Now look here, Fowle," he said, "don't
be a poor dub, and don't kick at my way of
speaking. For Dios! man, I've lived too long
in the sage country to scrape my tongue to a
smooth spiel like my my friend, the Senator.
Let's look squarely at the facts. You admire
"Who wouldn't? A pippin, every inch of
"Well er "
"You were fired from your last job. You're
in wrong with the police. You adopted a dis-
guise and told lies about Winifred to those who
would employ her. What chance have you of
getting back into your trade, even if you'd be
satisfied with it after having lived like a plute
"That goes," said Fowle, waving his pipe.
"You'd like to hand one to that fellow Car-
"Yet you kick like a steer when I offer you
the girl, a soft, well-paid job, and the worst
revenge you can take on Carshaw."
"Yes, all damn fine. But the risk the in-
fernal risk ! ' '
"That's where I don't agree with you. You
go away with her and her father "
"Father! You're not her father!"
260 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
"You should be the first to believe it. Her
aunt will swear it to you or to any judge in the
country. Once out of the United States, she
will be only too glad to avail herself of the
protection matrimony is supposed to offer.
What are you afraid of!"
"You talked of puttin' up some guy to pre-
tend to marry us. ' '
"Forget it. We can't keep her insensible or
dumb for days. But, in the company of her
loving father and her devoted husband, what
can she do f Who will believe her f Depend on
me to have the right sort of boys on the ship.
They'll just grin at her. By the time she
reaches Costa Eica she'll be howling for a mis-
sionary to come aboard in order to satisfy her
scruples. You can suggest it yourself."
"I believe she'd die sooner."
"What matter? You only lose a pretty wife.
There's lots more of the same sort when your
wad is thick enough. Why, man, it means a
three-months' trip and a fortune for life, how-
ever things turn out. You're tossing against
luck with an eagle on both sides of the quarter."
Fowle hesitated. The other suppressed a
smile. He knew his man.
"Don't decide in a minute," he said seriously.
"But, once settled, there must be no shirking.
Make up your mind either to go straight ahead
by my orders or clear out to-night. I'll give
"HE WHO FIGHTS AND RUNS" 261
you a ten-spot to begin life again. After that
don't come near me."
"I'll do it," said Fowle, and they shook
hands on their compact.
It was not in Winifred's nature to remain
long in a state of active resentment with any
human being. A prisoner, watched diligently
during the day, locked into her room at night,
she met Rachel Craik's grim espionage and
Mick the Wolf's evil temper with an equable
cheerfulness that exasperated the one while
mollifying the other.
She wondered greatly what they meant to do
with her. It was impossible to believe that in
the State of New Jersey, within a few miles of
New York, they could keep her indefinitely in
close confinement. She knew that her Rex
would move heaven and earth to rescue her.
She knew that the authorities, in the person of
Mr. Steingall, would take up the hunt with un-
wearying diligence, and she reasoned, acutely
enough, that a plot which embraced in its scope
so many different individuals could not long
defy the efforts made to elucidate it.
How thankful she was now that she had at
last written and posted that long-deferred letter
to the agent. Here, surely, was a clue to be
followed she had quite forgotten, in the first
whirlwind of her distress, the second letter
262 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
which reached her in the Twenty-Seventh
Street lodgings, but pinned her faith to the fact
that her own note concerning the appointment
"near East Orange" was in existence.
Perhaps her sweetheart was already rushing
over every road in the place and making ex-
haustive inquiries about her. It was possible
that he had passed Gateway House more than
once. He might have seen amid the trees the
tall chimneys of the very jail against whose
iron bars her spirit wab fluttering in fearful
hope. Oh, why was she not endowed with that
power she had read of, whose fortunate posses-
sors could leap time and space in their astral
subconsciousness and make known their
thoughts and wishes to those dear to them?
She even smiled at the conceit that a true
wireless telegraphy did exist between Carshaw
and herself. Daily, nightly, she thought of him
and he of her. But their alphabet was lacking;
they could utter only the thrilling language of
love, which is not bound by such earthly things
as signs and symbols.
Yet was she utterly confident, and her de-
meanor rendered Rachel Craik more and more
suspicious. Since the girl had scornfully dis-
owned her kinship, the elder woman had not
made further protest on that score. She frankly
behaved as a wardress in a prison, and Wini-
fred as frankly accepted the role of prisoner.
"HE WHO FIGHTS AND RUNS" 263
There remained Mick the Wolf. Under the cir-
cumstances, no doctor or professional nurse
could be brought to attend his injured arm.
The broken limb had of course been properly
set after the accident, but it required skilled
dressing daily, and this Winifred undertook.
She had no real knowledge of the subject, but
her willingness to help, joined to the instruc-
tion given by the man himself, achieved her
It was well-nigh impossible for this rough,
callous rogue, brought in contact with such a
girl for the first time in his life, to resist her
influence. She did not know it, but gradually
she was winning him to her side. He swore
at her as the cause of his suffering, yet found
himself regretting even the passive part he was
taking in her imprisonment.
On the very Sunday evening that Voles and
Fowle were concocting their vile and myster-
ious scheme, Mick the Wolf, their trusted as-
sociate, partner of Voles in many a desperate
enterprise in other lands, was sitting in an
armchair up-stairs listening to Winifred read-
ing from a book she had found in her bedroom.
It was some simple story of love and adventure,
and certainly its author had never dreamed that
his exciting situations would be perused under
conditions as dramatic as any pictured in the
264 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
1 'It's a queer thing," said the man after a
pause, when Winifred stopped to light a lamp,
''but nobody pipin' us just now 'ud think we
was what we are."
She laughed at the involved sentence. "I
don't think you are half so bad as you think
you are, Mr. Grey," she said softly. "For my
part, I am happy in the belief that my friends
will not desert me. ' '
"Lookut here," he said with gruff sym-
pathy, "why don't you pull with your people
instead of ag'in' 'em. I know what I'm talkin'
about. This yer Voles but, steady! Mebbe
I best shut up."
Winifred's heart bounded. If this man would
speak he might tell her something of great value
to her lover and Mr. Steingall when they came
to reckon up accounts with her persecutors.
"Anything you tell me, Mr. Grey, shall not
be repeated," she said.
He glanced toward the door. She understood
his thought. Eachel Craik was preparing their
evening meal. She might enter the room at
any moment, and it was not advisable that she
should suspect them of amicable relations. As-
suredly, up to that hour, Mick the Wolf's man-
ner admitted of no doubt on the point. He had
been intractable as the animal which supplied
his oddly appropriate nickname.
"It's this way," he went one in a lower tone.
"HE WHO FIGHTS AND RUNS" 265
" Voles an' Meiklejohn are brothers born.
Meiklejohn, bein' a Senator, an' well in with
some of the top-notchers, has a cotton conces-
sion in Costa Rica which means a pile of money.
Voles is cute as a pet fox. He winded the
turkey, an' has forced his brother to make him
manager, with a whackin' salary and an inter-
est. I'm in on the deal, too. Bless your little
heart, you just stan' pat, an' you kin make a
dress outer dollar bills."
"But what have I to do with all this? Why
cannot you settle your business without pursu-
ing me?" was the mournful question, for Wini-
fred never guessed how greatly the man's in-
formation affected her.
"I can't rightly say, but you're either with
us or ag'in' us. If you're on our side it'll be
a joy-ride. If you stick to that guy, Car-
To their ears, as to the ears of those waiting
in the car at the gate, came the sound of violent
blows and the wrenching open of ihe door. In
that large house in a room situated, too, on
the side removed from the road they could not
catch Carshaw's exulting cry after a peep
through the window:
"I have them! Voles and Fowle! There they
are ! Now you, who fought with Funston, fight
for a year's pay to be earned in a minute.
Here! use this wrench. You understand it.
266 TEE BARTLETT MYSTERY
Use it on the head of any one who resists
you. These scoundrels must be taken red-
Voles at the first alarm sprang to his feet
and whipped out a revolver. He knew that a
vigorous assault was being made on the stout
door. Running to the blind of the nearest win-
dow, he saw Carshaw pull out an iron bar by
sheer strength and use it as a lever to pry open
a sash. Tempted though he was to shoot, he
dared not. There might be police outside.
Murder would shatter his dreams of wealth
and luxury. He must outwit his pursuers.
Rachel Craik came running from the kitchen,
alarmed by the sudden hubbub.
"Fowle," he said to his amazed confederate,
"stand them off for a minute or two. You,
Rachel, can help. You know where to find me
when the coast is clear. They cannot touch you.
Remember that. They're breaking into this
house without a warrant. Bluff hard, and they
cannot even frame a charge against you if the
girl is secured and she will be if you give me
time. ' '
Trusting more to Rachel than to vacillating
Fowle, he raced up-stairs, though his injured
leg made rapid progress difficult. He ran into
a room and grabbed a small bag which lay in
readiness. Then he rushed toward the room in
which Winifred and Mick the Wolf were listen-
"HE WHO FIGHTS AND RUNS" 267
ing with mixed feelings to the row which had
sprung up beneath.
He tried the door. It was locked. Rachel
had the key in her pocket. A trifle of that
nature did not deter a man like Voles. "With
his shoulder he burst the lock, coming face to
face with his partner in crime, who had grasped
a poker in his serviceable hand.
"Atta-boy!" he yelled. "Down-stairs, and
floor 'em as they come. You've one sound arm.
Go for 'em they can't lay a finger on you."
Now, it was one thing to sympathize with a
helpless and gentle girl, but another to resist
the call of the wild. The dominant note in
Mick the Wolf was brutality, and the fighting
instinct conquered even his pain. With an oath
he made his way to the hall, and it needed all
of Steingall's great strength to overpower him,
wounded though he was.
It took Carshaw and Jim a couple of minutes
to force their way in. There was a lively fight,
in which the detective lent a hand. When Mick
the Wolf was down, groaning and cursing be-
cause his fractured arm was broken again ; when
Fowle was held to the floor, with Rachel Craik,
struggling and screaming, pinned beneath him
by the valiant Jim, Carshaw sped to the first
Soon, after using hand-cuffs on the man and
woman, and leaving Jim in charge of them and
Mick the Wolf, Steingall joined him. But,
search as they might, they could not find either
Winifred or Voles. Almost beside himself with
rage, Carshaw rushed back to the grim-visaged
1 'Where is she?" he cried. "What have you
done with her? By Heaven, I'll kill you
Her face lit up with a malignant joy. "A
nice thing!" she screamed. "Respectable folk
to be treated in this way ! What have we done,
I'd like to know? Breaking into our house and
"No good talking to her," said the chief.
"She's a deep one tough as they make 'em.
Let's search the grounds."
IK FULL CRY
POLLY, the maid from the inn, waiting breath-
lessly intent in the car outside the gate, listened
for sounds which should guide her as to the
progress of events within.
Steingall left her standing on the uphol-
stered back of the car, with her hands clutching
the top of the gate. She did not descend im-
mediately. In that position she could best hear
approaching footsteps, as she could follow the
running of the detective nearly all the way to
Great was her surprise, therefore, to find some
one unlocking the gate without receiving any
preliminary warning of his advent. She was
just in time to spring back into the tonneau
when one-half of the ponderous door swung
open and a man appeared, carrying in his arms
the seemingly lifeless body of a woman.
It will be remembered that the lamps of the
car spread their beams in the opposite direction.
In the gloom, not only of the night but of the
high wall and the trees, Polly could not distin-
270 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
She thought, however, the man was a stran-
ger. Naturally, as the rescuers had just gone
toward the point whence the newcomer came,
she believed that he had been directed to carry
the young lady to the waiting car. Her quick
sympathy was aroused.
"The poor dear!" she cried. "Oh, don't tell
me those horrid people have hurt her."
Voles who had choked "Winifred into insen-
sibility with a mixture of alcohol, chloroform,
and ether a scientific anesthetic used by all
surgeons, rapid in achieving its purpose and
quite harmless in its effects was far more sur-
prised than Polly. He never expected to be
greeted in this way, but rather to be met by
some helper of Carshaw's posed there, and he
was prepared to fight or trick his adversary as
He had carried Winifred down a servants'
stairs and made his way out of the house by a
back door. The exit was unguarded. In this,
as in many other country mansions, the drive
followed a circuitous sweep, but a path through
the trees led directly toward the gate. Hence,
his passage had neither been observed from
the hall nor overheard by Polly.
It was in precisely such a situation as that
which faced him now that Voles was really
superb. He was an adroit man, with ready
judgment and nerves of steel.
IN FULL CRY 271
"Not much hurt," he said quietly. "She has
fainted from shock, I think."
Though he spoke so glibly, his brain was on
fire with question and answer. His eyes glow-
ered at the car and its occupant, and swept the
open road on either hand.
To Polly's nostrils was wafted a strange
odor, carrying reminiscences of so-called
"painless" dentistry. Winifred, reviving in
the open air when that hateful sponge was re-
moved from mouth and nose, struggled spas-
modically in the arms of her captor. Polly
knew that women in a faint lie deathlike. That
never-to-be-forgotten scent, too, caused a wave
of alarm, of suspicion, to creep through her
with each heart-beat.
"Where are the others?" she said, leaning
over, and striving to see Voles 's face.
"Just behind," he answered. "Let me place
Miss Bartlett in the car."
That sounded reasonable.
"Lift her in here, poor thing," said Polly,
making way for the almost inanimate form.
"No; on the front seat."
"But why? This is the best place oh, help,
For Voles, having* placed Winifred beside the
steering-pillar, seized Polly and flung her head-
long onto the grass beneath the wall. In the
same instant he started the car with a quick
272 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
turn of the wrist, for the engine had been
stopped to avoid noise, and there was no time
to experiment with self-starters. He jumped in,
released the brakes, applied the first speed,
and was away in the direction to New York.
Polly, angry and frightened, ran after him,
screaming at the top of her voice.
Voles was in such a desperate hurry that he
did not pay heed to his steering, and nearly
ran over a motor-cyclist coming in hot haste
to East Orange. The rider, a young man,
pulled up and used language. He heard
Polly, panting and shrieking, running toward
"Good gracious, Miss Barnard, what's the
matter?" he cried, for Polly was pretty enough
to hold many an eye.
"Is that you, Mr. Petch? Thank goodness!
There's been murder done in Gateway House.
That villain is carrying off the young lady he
has killed. He has escaped from the police.
They're in there now. Oh, catch him!"
Mr. Petch, who had dismounted, began to
hop back New York-ward, while the engine em-
ulated a machine-gun.
"It's a big car goes fast I'll do my best-
Polly heard him say, and he, too, was gone.
She met Carshaw and the chief half-way up
the drive. To them, in gasps, she told her
IN FULL CRY 273
"Cool hand, Voles!" said SteingaU.
"The whole thing was bungled!" cried Car-
shaw in a white heat. "If Clancy had been
here this couldn't have happened."
Steingall took the implied taunt coolly.
"It would have been better had I followed
my original plan and not helped you," he said.
"You or our East Orange friend might have
been killed, it is true, but Voles could not have
carried the girl off so easily."
Carshaw promptly regretted his bitter com-
ment.. "I'm sorry," he said, "but you cannot
realize what all this means to me, Stein-
"I think I can. Cheer up; your car is easily
recognizable. We have a cyclist known to this
young lady in close pursuit. Even if he fails to
catch up with Voles, he will at least give us
some definite direction for a search. At pres-
ent there is nothing for us to do but lodge these
people in the local prison, telephone the ferries
and main towns, and go back to New York.
The police here will let us know what happens
to the cyclist; he may even call at the Bureau.
I can act best in New York."
"Do you mean now to arrest those in the
"Yes, sure. That is, I'll get the New Jersey
police to hold them."
4 * On what charge 1 ' '
274 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
"Conspiracy. At last we have clear evidence
against them. Miss Polly here has actually
seen Voles carrying off Miss Bartlett, who had
previously been rendered insensible. If I am
not mistaken in my man, Fowle will turn State's
evidence when he chews on the proposition for
a few hours in a cell."
"Pah the wretch! I don't want these rep-
tiles to be crushed; what I want is to recover
Miss Bartlett. Would it not be best to leave
them their liberty and watch them?"
"I've always found a seven days' remand
very helpful," mused the detective.
"In ordinary crime, yes. But here we have
Rachel Craik, who would suffer martyrdom
rather than speak; Fowle, a mere tool, who
knows nothing except what little he is told;
and a thick-headed brute named Mick the Wolf,
who does what his master bids him. Don't you
see that in prison they are useless. At liberty
they may help by trying to communicate with
"I'm half inclined to agree with you. Now
to frighten them. Keep your face and tongue
under control; I'll try a dodge that seldom
They re-entered the house. Jim was doing
sentry-go in the hall. The prisoners were sit-
ting mute, save that Mick the Wolf uttered an
IN FULL CRY 275
occasional growl of pain ; his wounded arm was
hurting him sorely.
''We're not going to worry any more about
you," said Steingall contemptuously as he un-
locked the hand-cuffs with which he had been
compelled to secure Rachel and Fowle.
"Yes, you will," was the woman's defiant
cry. "Your outrageous conduct "
"Oh, pull that stuff on some one likely to be
impressed by it. It comes a trifle late in the
day when Miss Winifred Marchbanks is in the
hands of her friends and Voles on his way to
prison. I don't even want you, Eachel Bart-
lett, unless the State attorney decides that you
ought to be prosecuted."
The woman's eyes gleamed like those of a
spiteful cat. The detective's cool use of Wini-
fred's right name, and of the name by which
Rachel Craik herself ought to be known, was
positively demoralizing. Fowle, too, was
greatly alarmed. The police-officer said noth-
ing about not wanting him. With Voles 's su-
perior will withdrawn, he began to quake
again. But Rachel was a dour New Englander,
of different metal to a man from the East
"If you're speaking of my niece," she said,
"you have been misled by the hussy, and by
that man of hers there. Mr. Voles is her father.
276 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
I have every proof of my words. You can bring
none of yours."
Steingall, eying Fowle, laughed. "You will
be able to tell us all about it in the witness-
box, Rachel Bartlett," he said.
"How dare you call me by that name?"
"Because it's your right one. Craik was
your mother's name. If friend Voles had only
kept his hands clean, or even treated you honor-
ably, you might now be Mrs. Ralph Meiklejohn,
He was playing with her with the affable
gambols of a cat toying with a doomed mouse.
Each instant Fowle was becoming more per-
turbed. He did not like the way in which the
detective ignored him. Was he to be swallowed
at a gulp when his turn came?
Even Rachel Craik was silenced by this last
shot. She wrung her hands; this stern, im-
placable woman seemed to be on the point of
bursting into tears. All the plotting and de-
vices of years had failed her suddenly. An
edifice of deception, which had lasted half a
generation, had crumbled into nothingness.
This man had callously exposed her secret and
her shame. At that moment her heart was
bitter against Voles.
The detective, skilled in the phases of crim-
inal thought, knew exactly what was passing
through the minds of both Rachel and Fowle.
IN FULL GEY 277
Revenge in the one case, safety in the other,
was operating quickly, and a crisis was at
But just then the angry voice of the East
Orange plumber reached him: "Just imagine
Fetch turnin' up; him, of all men in the world!
An' of course you talked nicey-nicey, an' he's
such an obligin' feller that he beats it after the
car! Fetch, indeed!"
There was a snort of jealous fury. Polly's
voice was raised in protest.
"Jim, don't be stupid. How could I tell who
"I'll back you against any girl in East
Orange to find another string to your bow
wherever you may happen to be," was the en-
The detective hastened to stop this lovers'
quarrel, which had broken out after a whispered
colloquy. He was too late. Miss Polly was on
"Well, Mr. Fetch is a real man, anyhow,"
came her stinging answer. "He's after them
now, and he won't let them slip through his
fingers like you did."
The sheer injustice of this statement ren-
dered Jim incoherent. Fetch was an old rival.
When next they met, gore would flow in East
Orange. But the detective's angry whisper re-
stored the senses of both.
278 TEE BARTLETT MYSTERY
"Can't you two shut up?" he hissed. " Your
miserable quarrel has warned our prisoners.
They were on the very point of <confe<ssing
everything when you blurted out that the chief
rascal had escaped. I'm ashamed of you, es-
pecially after you had behaved so well."
His rebuke was merited; they were abashed
into silence too late. When he returned to
the pair in the corner of the room he saw Ra-
chel Craik's sour smile and Fowle's downcast
look of calculation.
"A lost opportunity!" he muttered, but faced
the situation quite pleasantly.
"You may as well remain here," he said.
"I may want you, and you should realize with-
out giving further trouble that you cannot hide
from the police. Come, Mr. Carshaw, we have
work before us in East Orange. Miss Wini-
fred should be all right by this time."
Rachel Craik actually laughed. She won-
dered why she had lost faith in Voles for an in-
"I'll send a doctor," went on Steingall com-
posedly. "Your friend there needs one, I
"I'd sooner have a six-shooter," roared Mick
"Doctors are even more deadly sometimes."
So the detective took his defeat cheerfully,
and that is the worst thing a man ban do in
IN FULL CRY 279
his opponent's interests. He was rather silent
as he trudged with Carshaw and the others
back to the train, however.
He was asking himself what new gibe Clancy
would spring on him when the story of the
night's fiasco came out.
SOMEWHAT tired, having ridden that day to
Poughkeepsie and back, Petch, nevertheless,
put up a great race after the fleeing motor-car.
His muscles were rejuvenated by Polly Barn-
ard's exciting news and no less by admiration
for the girl herself. Little thinking that Jim,
the plumber, was performing deeds of derring-
do in the hall of Gateway House, he congratu-
lated himself on the lucky chance which enabled
him to oblige the fair Polly. He dashed into the
road to Hoboken, and found, to his joy, that
the dust raised by the passage of the car gave
an unfailing clue to its route. Now, a well-
regulated motor-cycle can run rings round any
other form of automobile, no matter how many
horses may be pent in the cylinders, if on an
ordinary road and subjected to the exigencies
Voles, break-neck driver though he was, dared
not disregard the traffic regulations and risk
a smash-up. He got the best out of the engine,
but was compelled to go steadily through clus-
ters of houses and around tree-shaded corners.
FLANK ATTACKS 281
To his great amazement, as he was tearing
through the last habitations before crossing the
New Jersey flats, he was hailed loudly from
"Hi, you pull up!"
He glanced over his shoulder. A motor-cyc-
list, white with dust, was riding after him with
"Hola!" cried Voles, snatching another look.
"What's the matter?"
Fetch should have temporized, done one of
a hundred things he thought of too late ; but he
was so breathless after the terrific sprint in
which he overtook Voles that he blurted
"I know you you can't escape there's the
girl herself I see her!"
Voles urged on the car by foot and finger.
After him pelted Fetch, with set teeth and
straining eyes. The magnificent car, superb in
its energies, swept through the night like the
fiery dragon of song and fable, but with a speed
never attained by dragon yet, else there would
be room on earth for nothing save dragons.
And the motor-cycle leaped and bounded close
behind, stuttering its resolve to conquer the
monster in front.
The pair created a great commotion as they
whirred past scattered houses and emerged
282 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
into the keen, cold air of the marshland. A
few cars met en route actually slowed up, and
heads were thrust out to peer in wonder. "Wo-
men in them were scared, and enjoined drivers
to be careful, while men explained laughingly
that a couple of joy-riders were being chased
by a motor "cop."
It was neck or nothing now for Voles, and
when these alternatives offered, he never hesi-
tated as to which should be chosen. He knew
he was in desperate case.
The pace ; the extraordinary appearance of a
hatless man and a girl with her hair streaming
wild for Winifred's abundant tresses had soon
shed all restraint of pins and twists before the
tearing wind of their transit would create a
tumult in Hoboken. Something must be done.
He must stop the car and shoot that pestifer-
ous cyclist, who had sprung out of the ground
as though one of Medusa's teeth had lain buried
there throughout the ages, and become a pano-
plied warrior at a woman's cry.
He looked ahead. There was no car in sight.
He peered over his shoulder. There was no
cyclist ! Fetch had not counted on this frenzied
race, and his petrol-tank was empty. He had
pulled up disconsolately half a mile away, and
was now borrowing a gallon of gas from an
Orange-bound car, explaining excitedly that he
was "after" a murderer!
FLANK ATTACKS 283
Voles laughed. The fiend's luck, which sel-
dom fails the fiend's votaries, had come to his
aid in a highly critical moment. There re-
mained Winifred. She, too, must be dealt with.
Now, all who have experienced the effect of an
anesthetic will understand that after the merely
stupefying power of the gas has waned there
follows a long period of semi-hysteria, when
actual existence is dreamlike, and impressions
of events are evanescent. Winifred, therefore,
hardly appreciated what was taking place until
the car- stopped abruptly, and the stupor of
cold passed almost simultaneously with the
stupor of anesthesia.
But Voles had his larger plan now. With
coolness and daring he might achieve it. All
depended on the discretion of those left be-
hind in Gateway House. It was impossible to
keep Winifred always in durance, or to prevent
her everlastingly from obtaining help. That
fool of a cyclist, for instance, had he contented
himself with riding quietly behind until he
reached the ferry, would have wrecked the ex-
ploit beyond repair.
There remained one last move, but it was a
perfect one in most ways. Would Fowle keep
his mouth shut? Voles cursed Fowle in his
thought. Were it not for Fowle there would
have been no difficulty. Carshaw would never
have met Winifred, and the girl would have
284 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
been as wax in the hands of Rachel Craik. Ho
caught hold of Winifred's arm.
"If you scream I'll choke you!" he said
Shaken by the chloroform mixture, benumbed
as the outcome of an unprotected drive, the
girl was physically as well as mentally unable
to resist. He coiled her hair into a knot, gag-
ged her dexterously with a silk handkerchief
Voles knew all about gags and tied her
hands behind her back with a shoe-lace. Then
he adjusted the hood and side-screens.
He did these things hurriedly, but without
fumbling. He was losing precious minutes, for
the telephone-wire might yet throttle him; but
the periods of waiting at the ferry and while
crossing the Hudson must be circumvented in
some way or other. His last act before start-
ing the car was to show Winifred the revolver
he never lacked.
"See this!" he growled into her ear. "I'm
not going to be held by any cop. At the least
sign of a move by you to attract attention I'll
put the first bullet through the cop, the second
through you, and the third through myself, if
I can't make my get-away. Better believe that.
I mean it."
He asked for no token of understanding on
her part. He was stating only the plain facts.
In a word, Voles was born to be a great man,
FLANK ATTACKS 285
and an unhappy fate had made him a scoundrel.
But fortune still befriended him. Rain fell as
he drove through Hoboken. The ferry was al-
most deserted, and the car was wedged in be-,
tween two huge mail-vans on board the boat.
Hardened rascal though he was, Voles
breathed a sigh of relief as he drove unchal-
lenged past a uniformed policeman on arriving
at Christopher Street. He guessed his escape
was only a matter of minutes. In reality, he
was gone some ten seconds when the policeman
was called to the phone. As for Fetch, that
valorous knight-errant crossed on the next boat,
and the Hoboken police were already on the qui
Every road into and out of New York was'
soon watched by sharp eyes on the lookout for
a car bearing a license numbered in the tens of
thousands, and tenanted by a hatless man and
a girl in indoor costume. Quickly the circles
lessened in concentric rings through the agen-
cies of telephone-boxes and roundsmen.
At half past nine a patrolman found a car
answering the description standing outside an
up-town saloon on the East Side. Examining
the register number he saw at once that black-
ing had been smeared over the first and last
figures. Then he knew. But there was no trace
of the driver. Voles and Winifred had van-
ished into thin air.
286 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
Mrs Carshaw, breakfasting with a haggard
and weary son, revealed that Senator Meikle-
john was at Atlantic City. He kissed her for
"Meiklejohn must wait, mother," he said.
"Winifred is somewhere in New York. I can-
not tear myself away to Atlantic City to-day.
When I have found her, I shall deal with Meik-
Then came Steingall, and he and Mrs. Car-
shaw exchanged a glance which the younger
Mrs. Carshaw, sitting a while in deep thought
after the others had gone, rang up a railway
company. Atlantic City is four hours distant
from New York. By hurrying over certain in-
quiries she wished to make, she might catch a
train at midday.
She drove to her lawyers. At her request a
smart clerk was lent to her for a couple of
hours. They consulted various records. The
clerk made many notes on foolscap sheets in a
large, round hand, and Mrs. Carshaw, seated in
the train, read them many times through her
It was five o'clock when a taxi brought her to
the Marlborough-Blenheim Hotel, and Senator
Meiklejohn was the most astonished man on the
Jersey coast at the moment when she entered
unannounced, for Mrs. Carshaw had simply
FLANK ATTACKS 287
said to the elevator-boy: ''Take me to Sena-
tor Meikle John's sitting-room."
Undeniably he was startled; but playing des-
perately for high stakes had steadied him
somewhat. Perhaps the example of his stron-
ger brother had some value, too, for he rose
with sufficient affability.
"What a pleasant rencontre, Mrs. Carshaw,"
he said. "I had no notion you were within a
hundred miles of the Board Walk."
"That is not surprising," she answered, sink-
ing into a comfortable chair. "I have just ar-
rived. Order me some sandwiches and a cup
of tea. I'm famished."
"I take it you have come to see me?" he said,
quietly enough, though aware of a queer flut-
tering about the region of his heart.
"Yes. I am so worried about Rex."
"Dear me! The girl?"
"It is always a woman. How you men must
loathe us in your sane moments, if you ever
"I flatter myself that I am sane, yet how
could I say that I loathe your sex, Mrs. Car-
"I wonder if your flattery will bear analysis.
But there! No serious talk until I am re-
freshed. Do ring for some biscuits; sand-
wjches are apt to be slow in the cutting."
288 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
Thus by pretext she kept him from direct
converse until a tea-tray, with a film of pate
de fois coyly hidden in thin bread and but-
ter, formed, as it were, a rampart between
"How did you happen on my address?" he
It was the first shell of real warfare, and she
answered in kind : * * That was quite easy. The
people at the detective bureau know it. ' '
The words hit him like a bullet.
"The Bureau!" he cried.
"Yes. The officials there are interested in
the affairs of Winifred Marchbanks."
He went ashen-gray, but essayed, neverthe-
less, to turn emotion into mere amazement.
He was far too clever a man to pretend a blank
negation. The situation was too strenuous for
any species of ostrich device.
"I seem to remember that name," he said
slowly, moistening his lips with his tongue.
"Of course you do. You have never for-
gotten it. Let us have a friendly chat about
her, Senator. My son is going to marry her.
That is- why I am here."
She munched her sandwiches and sipped her
tea. This experienced woman of the world,
now boldly declared on the side of romance,
was far too astute to force the man to despera-
tion unless it was necessary. He must be given
FLANK ATTACKS 289
breathing-time, permitted to collect his wits.
She was sure of her ground. Her case was not
legally strong. Meiklejohn would discover
that defect, and, indeed, it was not her object
to act legally. If others could plot and scheme,
she would have a finger in the pie that was all.
And behind her was the clear brain of Stein-
gall, who had camped for days near the Sena-
tor in Atlantic City, and had advised the mother
how to act for her son.
There was a long silence. She ate steadily.
"Perhaps you will be good enough to state
explicitly why you are here,. Mrs. Carshaw,"
said Meiklejohn at last.
She caught the ring of defiance in his tone.
She smiled. There was to be verbal sword-
play, and she was armed cap-d-pie.
"Just another cup of tea," she pleaded, and
he wriggled uneasily in his chair. The delay
was torturing him. She unrolled her big sheets
of notes. He looked over at them with well-
"I have an engagement " he began, looking
at his watch.
"You must put it off," she said, with sudden
heat. "The most important engagement of
your life is here, now, in this room, William
Meiklejohn. I mentioned the detective bureau
when I entered. Which do you prefer to en-
counter me or an emissary of the police?"
290 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
He paled again. Evidently this society lady
had claws, and would use them if annoyed.
' 'I do not think that I have said anything
to warrant such language to me," he mur-
mured, striving to smile deprecatingly. He suc-
ceeded but poorly.
"You sent me to drive out into the world the
girl whom my son loved," was the retort.
"You made a grave mistake in that. I recog-
nized her, after a little while. I knew her
mother. Now, am I to go into details'?"
"I really I"
"Very well. Eighteen years ago your
brother, Ealph Vane Meiklejohn, murdered a
man named Marchbanks, who had discovered
that you and your brother were defrauding his
wife of funds held by your bank as her trustees.
I have here the records of the crime. I do not
say that your brother, who has since been a
convict and is now assisting you under the name
of Ralph Voles, could be charged with that
crime. Maybe 'murderer' is too strong a word
for him where Marchbanks was concerned; but
I do say that any clever lawyer could send you
and him to the penitentiary for robbing a
dead woman and her daughter, the girl whom
you and he have kidnapped within the last
week. ' '
Here was a broadside with a vengeance.
Meiklejohn could not have endured a keener
FLANK ATTACKS 291
agony were he facing a judge and jury. It was
one thing to have borne this terrible secret
gnawing at his vitals during long years, but it
was another to find it pitilessly laid bare by a
woman belonging to that very society for which
he had dared so much in order to retain his
He bent his head between his hands. For
a few seconds thoughts of another crime danced
in his surcharged brain. But Mrs. Carshaw's
well-bred syllables brought him back to sanity
with -chill deliberateness.
1 ' Shall I go on ! " she said. < < Shall I tell you
of Eachel Bartlett; of the scandal to be raised
about your ears, not only by this falsified trust,
but by the outrageous attack on Eonald
He raised his pallid face. He was a proud
man, and resented her merciless taunts.
"Of course," he muttered, "I deny every-
thing you have said. But, if it were true, you
must have some ulterior motive in approaching
me. What is it?"
"I am glad you see that. I am here to offer
terms. ' '
"You must place this girl, Winifred March-
banks, under my care where she will remain
until my son marries her and make restitu-
tion of her mother's property."
292 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
"No doubt you have a definite sum in your
"Most certainly. My lawyers tell me you
ought to refund the interest as well, but Wini-
fred may content herself with the principal.
You must hand her half a million dollars ! ' '
He sprang to his feet, livid, "Woman,"
he yelled, " you are crazy!"
THE BITEE BIT
MRS. CARSHAW focused him again through
her gold-rimmed eye-glasses. " Crazy?" she
questioned calmly. "Not a bit of it merely an
old woman bargaining for her son. Rex would
not have done it. After thrashing you he
would have left you to the law, and, were the
law to step in, you would surely be ruined. I,
on the other hand, do not scruple to compound
a felony that is what my lawyers call it. My
extravagance and carelessness have contributed
to encumber Rex's estates with a heavy mort-
gage. If I provide his wife with a dowry which
pays off the mortgage and leaves her a nice sum
as pin-money, I shall have done well."
"Half a million! I I repudiate your state-
ments. Even if I did not, I have no such sum
"Yes, you have, or will have, which is the
same thing. Shall I give you details of the
Costa Rica cotton concession, arranged be-
tween you, and Jacob, and Helen Tower?
They're here. As for repudiation, perhaps I
have hurried matters. Permit me to go through
294 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
my story at some length, quoting chapter and
She spread open her papers again, after hav-
ing folded them.
1 'Stop this wretched farce," he almost
screamed, for her coolness broke up his never
too powerful nervous system. "If I agree
what guarantee is there "
"Ah! now you're talking reasonably. I can
ensure the acceptance of my terms. First,
where is Winifred?"
He hesitated. Here was the very verge of
the gulf. Any admission implied the truth of
Mrs. Carshaw's words. She did not help him.
He must take the plunge without any further
impulsion. But the Senator's nerve was broken.
They both knew it.
"At Gateway House, East Orange," he said
sullenly. "I must tell you that my my
brother is a dare-devil. Better leave me
"I am glad you have told the truth," she in-
terrupted. "She is not at Gateway House now.
Eex and a detective were there last night.
There was a fight. Your brother, a resource-
ful scoundrel evidently, carried her off. You
must find him and her. A train leaves for New
York in half an hour. Come back with me and
help look for her. It will count toward your re-
THE BITER BIT 295
He glanced at his watch abstractedly. He
even smiled in a sickly way as he said:
"You timed your visit well."
"Yes. A woman has intuition, you know.
It takes the place of brains. I shall await you
in the hall. Now, don't be stupid, and think of
revolvers, and poisons, and things. You will
end by blessing me for my interference. Will
you be ready in five minutes'?"
She sat in the lounge, and soon saw some bag-
gage descending. Then Meiklejohn joined her.
She went to the office and asked for a telegraph
form. The Senator had followed.
"What are you going to do?" he asked sus-
"I'm wiring Rex to say that you and I are
traveling to New York together, and advising
him to suspend operations until we arrive.
That will be helpful. You will not be tempted
to act foolishly, and he will not do anything to
prejudice your future actions."
He gave her a wrathful glance. Mrs. Car-
shaw missed no point. A man driven to des-
peration might be tempted to bring about an
"accident" if he fancied he could save himself
in that way. But, clever as a mother scheming
for her son's welfare proved herself, there was
one thing she could not do. Neither she nor
any other human being can prevent the un-
expected from happening occasionally. Sound
296 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
judgment and astute planning will often gain
a repute for divination; yet the prophet is de-
cried at times. Steingall had discovered this,
and Mrs. Carshaw experienced it now.
It chanced that Mick the Wolf, lying in Gate-
way House on a bed of pain, his injuries ag-
gravated by the struggle with the detective, and
his temper soured by Rachel Craik's ungracious
ministrations, found his thoughts dwelling on
the gentle girl who had forgotten her own sor-
rows and tended him, her enemy.
Such moments come to every man, no matter
how vile he may be, and this lorn wolf was a
social castaway from whom, during many years,
all decent-minded people had averted their
faces. His slow-moving mind was apt to be
dominated by a single idea. He understood
enough of the Costa Rican project to grasp the
essential fact that there was money in it for all
concerned, and money honestly earned, if
honesty be measured by the ethics of the stock
He realized, too, that neither Voles nor
Rachel Craik could be moved by argument, and
he rightly estimated Fowle as a weak-minded
nonentity. So he slowly hammered out a con-
clusion, and, having appraised it in his narrow
circle of thought, determined to put it into
An East Orange doctor, who had received his
TEE BITER BIT 297
instructions from the police, paid a second visit
to Mick the Wolf shortly before the hour of
Mrs. Carshaw's arrival in Atlantic City.
"Well, how is the arm feeling now!" he said
pleasantly, when he entered the patient's bed-
The answer was an oath.
"That will never do," laughed the doctor.
"Cheerfulness is the most important factor in
healing. Ill-temper causes jerky movements
and careless "
"Oh, shucks," came the growl. "Say, listen,
boss! I've been broke up twice over a slip of
a girl. I've had enough of it. The whole darn
thing is a mistake. I want to end it, an' I don't
give a hoorah in Hades who knows. Just tell
her friends that if they look for her on board
the steamer Wild Duck, loadin' at Smith's Pier
in the East River, they'll either find her or
strike her trail. That's all. Now fix these
bandages, for my arm's on fire."
The doctor wisely put no further questions.
He dressed the wounded limb and took his de-
parture. A policeman in plain clothes, hiding
in a neighboring barn, saw him depart and
hailed him: "Any news, Doc?"
"Yes," was the reply. "If my information
is correct you'll not be kept there much longer."
He motored quickly to the police-station.
Within the hour Carshaw, with frowning face
298 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
and dreams of wreaking physical vengeance on
the burly frame of Voles, was speeding across
New York with Steingall in his recovered car.
He simply hungered for a personal combat with
the man who had inflicted such sufferings on his
The story told by Polly Barnard, and sup-
plemented by Fetch, revealed very clearly the
dastardly trick practised by Voles the previ-
ous evening, while the dodge of smearing out
two of the figures on the automobile's license
plate explained the success attained in travers-
ing the streets unnoticed by the police.
Steingall was inclined to theorize.
' ' The finding of the car puzzled me at first, I
admit," he said. "Now, assuming that Mick
the Wolf has not sent us off on a wild-goose
chase, the locality of the steamer explains it.
Voles drove all the way to the East Side, quit-
ted the car in the neighborhood of the pier,
deposited Miss Bartlett on board the vessel
under some plausible pretext, and actually
risked the return journey into the only part
of New York where the missing auto might not
be noticed at once. He's a bold rogue, and no
mistake. ' '
But Carshaw answered not. The chief
glanced at him sideways, and smiled. There
was a lowering fire in his companion's eyes that
told its own story. Thenceforward, the run
THE BITER BIT 299
was taken in silence. But Steingall had decided
on his next move. When they neared Smith's
Pier Carshaw wished to drive straight there.
"Nothing of the sort," was the sharp official
command. "We have failed once. Perhaps
it was my fault. This time there shall be no
mistakes. Turn along the next street to the
right. The precinct station is three blocks
Somewhat surprised by Steingall 's tone,
the other obeyed. At the station-house a police-
man, called from the men's quarters, where he
was quietly reading and smoking, stated that
he was on duty in the neighborhood between
eight o'clock the previous evening and four
o'clock that morning. He remembered seeing
a car, similar to the one standing outside, pass
about 9.15 P.M. It contained two people, he be-
lieved, but could not be sure, as the screens
were raised owing to the rain. He did not see
the car again; some drunken sailors required
attention during the small hours.
The local police-captain and several men in
plain clothes were asked to assemble quietly on
Smith's Pier. A message was sent to the river
police, and a launch requisitioned to patrol near
the Wild Duck.
Finally, Steingall, who was a born strategist,
and whose long experience of cross-examining
counsel rendered him wary before he took ir-
300 TEE BAUTLETT MYSTERY
revocable steps in cases such as this, where a
charge might fail on unforeseen grounds, made
inquiries from a local ship's chandler as to the
Wild Duck, her cargo, and her destination.
There was no secret about her. She was
loading with stores for Costa Eica. The con-
signees were a syndicate, and both Carshaw
and Steingall recognized its name as that of the
venture in which Senator Meiklejohn was in-
"Do you happen to know if there is any one
on board looking after the interests of the syn-
dicate f ' ' asked the detective.
"Yes. A big fellow has been down here once
or twice. He's going out as the manager, I
guess. His name was let me see now "
"Voles?" suggested Steingall.
"No, that wasn't it. Oh, I've got it Vane,
Carshaw, dreadfully impatient, failed to un-
derstand all this preliminary survey; but the
detective had no warrant, and ship's captains
become crusty if their vessels are boarded in
a peremptory manner without justification.
Moreover, Steingall quite emphatically ordered
Carshaw to remain on the wharf while he and
others went on board.
"You want to strangle Voles, if possible,"
he said. "From what I've heard of him he
would meet the attempt squarely, and you two
THE BITER BIT 301
might do each other serious injury. I simply
refuse to permit any such thing. You have a
much more pleasant task awaiting you when
you meet the young lady. No one will say a
word if you hug her as hard as you like."
Carshaw, agreeing to aught hut delay, prom-
ised ruefully not to interfere. When the river
police were at hand a nod brought several
powerfully built officers closing in on the main
gangway of the Wild Duck. The police-cap-
tain, in uniform, accompanied Steingall on
A deck hand hailed them and asked their
"I want to see the captain," said the detec-
"There he is, boss, lookin' at you from the
They glanced up toward a red-faced, hector-
ing sort of person who regarded them with
evident disfavor. Some ships, loading for Cen-
tral American ports at out-of-the-way wharves,
do not want uniformed police on their decks.
The two climbed an iron ladder. Men at
work in the forehold ceased operations and
looked up at them. Their progress was fol-
lowed by many interested eyes from the wharf.
The captain glared angrily. He, too, had noted
the presence of the stalwart contingent near the
gangway, nor had he missed the police boat.
"What the " he commenced; but the de-
tective's stern question stopped an outburst.
"Have you a man named Voles or Vane on
"Mr. Vane yes."
"Did he bring a young woman to this ship
late last night?"
"I don't see "
"Let me explain, captain. I'm from the de-
tective bureau. The man I am inquiring for
is wanted on several charges."
The steady official tone caused the skipper
to think. Here was no cringing foreigner or
laborer to be brow-beaten at pleasure.
"Well, I'm " he growled. "Here, you,"
roaring at a man beneath, "go aft and tell Mr.
Vane he's wanted on the bridge."
The messenger vanished.
"I assume there is a young lady on board?"
went on Steingall.
"I'm told so. I haven't seen her."
"Surely you know every one who has a right
to be on the ship ? ' '
"Guess that's so, mister, an' who has more
right than the daughter of the man who puts
up the dough for the trip? Strikes me you're
makin' a hash of things. But here's Mr. Vane.
He'll soon put you where you belong."
Advancing from the after state-rooms came
Voles. He was looking at the bridge, but the
THE BITER BIT 303
police-captain was hidden momentarily by the
chart-room. He gazed at Steingall with bold
curiosity. He had a foot on the companion
ladder when he heard a sudden commotion on
the wharf. Turning, he saw Fowle, livid with
terror, writhing in Carshaw's grasp.
Then Voles stood still. The shades of night
were drawing in, but he had seen enough to
give him pause. Perhaps, too, other less pal-
pable shadows darkened his soul at that
THE chief disliked melodrama in official af-
fairs. Any man, even a crook, ought to know
when he is beaten, and take his punishment
with a stiff upper lip. But Voles 's face was
white, and in one of his temperament, that was
as ominous a sign as the bloodshot eyes of a
wild boar. Steingall had hoped that Voles
would walk quietly into the chart-room, and,
seeing the folly of resistance, yield to the law
without a struggle. Perhaps, under other
conditions, he might have done so. It was the
coming of Fowle that had complicated matters.
The strategic position was simple enough.
Voles had the whole of the after-deck to him-
self. In the river, unknown to him, was the
police launch. On the wharf, plain in view,
were several policemen, whose clothes in no-
wise concealed their character. On the bridge,
visible now, was the uniformed police-captain.
Above all, there was Fowle, wriggling in Car-
shaw's grasp, and pointing frantically at him,
TEE SETTLEMENT 305
"Come right along, Mr. Vane," said Stein-
gall encouragingly; "we'd like a word with
The planets must have been hostile to the
Meiklejohn family in that hour. Brother Wil-
liam was being badly handled by Mrs. Carshaw
in Atlantic City, and Brother Ralph was receiv-
ing a polite request to come upstairs and be
But Ralph Vane Meiklejohn faced the odds
creditably. People said afterward it was a pity
he was such a fire-eater. Matters might have
been arranged much more smoothly. As it was,
he looked back, perhaps, through a long vista
of misspent years, and the glance was not en-
couraging. Of late, his mind had dwelt with
somewhat unpleasant frequency on the finding
of a dead body in the quarry near his Vermont
His first great crime had found him out when
he was beginning to forget it. He had walked
that moment from the presence of a girl whose
sorrowful, frightened face reminded him of
another long-buried victim of that quarry
tragedy. He knew, too, that this girl had been
defrauded by him and his brother of a vast sum
of money, and a guilty conscience made the
prospect blacker than it really was. And then,
he was a man of fierce impulses, of ungovern-
able rage, a very tiger when his baleful pas-
306 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
sions were stirred. A wave of madness swept
through him now. He saw the bright prospect
of an easily-earned fortune ruthlessly replaced
by a more palpable vision of prison walls and
silent, whitewashed corridors. Perhaps the
chair of death itself loomed through the red
mist before his eyes.
Yet he retained his senses sufficiently to note
the police-captain's slight signal to his men to
come on board, and again he heard Steingall's
" Don't make any trouble, Voles. It'll be
all the worse for you in the end."
The detective's warning was not given with-
out good cause. He knew the faces of men, and
in the blazing eyes of this man he read a mani-
Voles glanced toward the river. It was
nearly night. He could swim like an otter. In
the sure confusion he might Then, for the
first time, he noticed the police launch. His
right hand dropped to his hip.
"Ah, don't be a fool, Voles!" came the cry
from the bridge. " You 're only making mat-
A bitter smile creased the lips of the man
who felt the world slipping away beneath him.
His hand was thrust forward, not toward the
occupants of the bridge, but toward the wharf.
THE SETTLEMENT 307
Fowle saw him and yelled. A report and the
yell merged into a scream of agony. Voles
was sure that Fowle had betrayed him, and
took vengeance. There was a deadly certainty
in his aim.
Steingall, utterly fearless when action was
called for, swung himself down by the railings.
He was too late. A second report, and Voles
His bold spirit had not yielded nor his hand
failed him in the last moment of his need. A
bullet -was lodged in his brain. He was dead
ere the huge body thudded on the deck.
When Carshaw found Winifred in a cabin
to open the door they had to obtain the key
from Voles 's pocket the girl was sobbing piti-
fully. She heard the revolver shots, and knew
not what they betokened. She was so utterly
shaken by these last dreadful hours that she
could only cling to her lover and cry in a
frightened way that went to his heart:
"Oh, take me away, Rex! It was all my
fault. Why did I not trust you? Please, take
He fondled her hair and endeavored to kiss
the tears from her eyes.
"Don't cry, little one!" he whispered. "All
your troubles have ended now."
It was a simple formula, but effective. When
308 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
repeated often enough, with sufficiently con-
vincing caresses, she became calmer. When he
brought her on deck all signs of the terrible
scene enacted there had been removed. She
asked what had caused the firing, and he told
her that Voles was arrested. It was sufficient.
So sensitive was she that the mere sound of
the dead bully's name made her tremble.
"I remember now," she whispered. "I was
sure he had killed you. I knew you would fol-
low me, Rex. When I saw you I forgot all
else in the joy of it. Are you sure you are
At another time he would have laughed, but
her worn condition demanded the utmost for-
"No, dearest," he assured her. "He did not
even try to hurt me. Now let me take you to
The captain, thoroughly scared by the events
he had witnessed, came forward with profuse
apologies and offers of the ship's hospitality.
Carshaw felt that the man was not to blame,
but the Wild Duck held no attractions for him.
He hurried Winifred ashore.
Steingall came with them. The district police
would make the official inquiries as a prelimin-
ary to the inquest which would be held next day.
Carshaw must attend, but Winifred would prob-
ably be excused by the authorities. He con-
THE SETTLEMENT 309
veyed this information in scraps of innuendo.
Winifred did not know of Voles 's death or the
shooting of Fowle till many days had passed.
Fowle did not die. He recovered, after an
operation and some months in a hospital. Then
Carshaw befriended him, obtained a situation
for him, and gave him money to start life in
an honest way once more.
There was another scene when Mrs. Carshaw
brought Meiklejohn to her apartment and
found Rex and Winifred awaiting them. Wini-
fred, of course, had never seen the Senator,
and there was nothing terrifying to her in the
sight of a haggard, weary-looking, elderly
gentleman. She was far more fluttered by
meeting Eex's mother, who figured in her
mind as a domineering, cruel, old lady, ele-
gantly merciless, and gifted with a certain skill
in torture by words.
Mrs. Carshaw began to dispel that impres-
"My poor child I" she cried, with a break in
her voice, "what you have undergone! Can
you ever forgive me?"
Carshaw, ignoring Meiklejohn, whispered to
his mother that Winifred should be sent to bed.
She was utterly worn out. One of the maids
should sleep in her room in case she awoke
in fright during the night.
When left alone with Meiklejohjo. he intended
310 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY
to scarify the man's soul. But lie was dis-
armed at the outset. The Senator's spirit was
broken. He admitted everything; said nought
in palliation. He could have taken no better
line. When Mrs. Carshaw hastened back, fear-
ing lest her plans might be upset, she found
her son giving Winifred's chief persecutor a
stiff dose of brandy.
The tragedy of Smith's Pier was allowed to
sink into the obscurity of an ordinary occur-
rence. Fowle's unhappily-timed appearance
was explained by Rachel Craik when her frenzy
at the news of Voles 's death had subsided.
A chuckling remark by Mick the Wolf that
" There 'd been a darned sight too much fuss
about that slip of a girl, an' he had fixed it,"
She sent Fowle at top speed to Smith's Pier
to warn Voles. He arrived in time to be shot
for his pains.
Carshaw and Winifred were married quietly.
Their honeymoon consisted of the trip to Mas-
sachusetts when he began work in the cotton
mill. Meiklejohn fulfilled his promise. When
the Costa Eica cotton concession reached its
zenith he sold out, resigned his seat in the Sen-
ate and transferred to Winifred railway cash
and gilt-edged bonds to the total value of a
half a million dollars. So the young bride en-
riched her husband, but Carshaw; refused to
THE SETTLEMENT 311
desert his business. He will die a millionaire,
but lie hopes to live like one for a long time.
Fetch and Jim fought over Polly. There
was talk about it in East Orange, and Polly
threw both over ; the latest gossip is that she is
going to marry a police-inspector.
Mrs. Carshaw, Sr., still visits her "dear
friend," Helen Tower. Both of them speak
highly of Meiklejohn, who lives in strict seclu-
sion. He is very wealthy; since he ceased to
strive for gold it has poured in on him.
Winifred secured an allowance for Rachel
Craik sufficient to live on, and Mick the Wolf,
whose arm was never really sound again, was
given a job on the Long Island estate as a
Quite recently, when the young couple came
in to New York for a week-end's shopping
rendered necessary by the establishment of day
and night nurseries they entertained Stein-
gall and Clancy at dinner in the Biltmore.
Naturally, at one stage of a pleasant meal, the
talk turned on those eventful months, October
and November, 1913. As usual, Clancy waxed
sarcastic at his chief's expense.
4 'He's as vain as a star actor in the movies,"
he cackled. "Hogs all the camera stuff.
Wouldn't give me even a flash when the big
scene was put on."
Steingall pointed a fat cigar at him.
312 THE BAETLETT MYSTERY
"Do you know what happened to a frog when"
he tried to emulate a bull?" he said.
"I know what happened to a bull one night in
East Orange," came the ready retort.
"The solitary slip in an otherwise unblem-
ished career," sighed the chief. "Make the
most of it, little man. If I allowed myself to
dwell on your many blunders I'd lie down and
Winifred never really understood these two.
She thought their bickering was genuine.
"Why," she cried, "you are wonderful, both
of you ! From the very beginning you peered
into the souls of those evil men. You, Mr.
Clancy, seemed to sense a great mystery the
moment you heard Rachel Craik speak to the
Senator outside the club that night. As for you,
Mr. Steingall, do you know what the lawyers
told Rex and me soon after our marriage f ' '
"No, ma'am," said Steingall.
"They said that if you hadn't sent Eex's
mother to Atlantic City we might never have
recovered a cent of the stolen money. Sheer
bluff, they called it. We would have had the
greatest difficulty in establishing a legal
Steingall weighed the point for a moment.
"Sometimes I'm inclined to think that the
police know more about human nature than any
other set of men," he said, at last, evidently
THE SETTLEMENT 313
choosing his words with care. " Perhaps I
might except doctors. They, too, see us as we
are. But the dry legal mind does not allow
sufficiently for what is called in every-day
speech a guilty conscience. In this case these
people knew they had done you and your father
and mother a great wrong, and that knowledge
was never absent from their thoughts. It
colored every word they uttered, governed
every action. That's a heavy handicap, ma'am.
It's the deciding factor in the never-ending
struggle between the police and the criminal
classes. The most callous crook walking Broad-
way in freedom to-night a man who would
scoff at the notion that he is bothered by any
conscience at all never passes a policeman
without an instinotrfO sense of danger. And
that is what beats him in the long run. Crime
may be a form of lunacy indeed, I look on it
in that light myself but, luckily for mankind,
crime cannot stifle conscience."
The chief's tone had become serious; he ap-
peared to awake to its gravity when he found
the young wife's eyes fixed on his with a certain
awe. He broke off the lecture suddenly.
"Why," he cried, smiling broadly, and jerk-
ing the cigar toward Clancy, "why, ma'am, if
we cops hadn't some sort of a pull, what chance
would a shrimp like him have against any one
of real intelligence?"
314 THE BAETLETT MYSTERY
"That's what he regards as handing me a
lemon for my Orange," grinned Clancy.
Winifred laughed. The curtain can drop on
the last act of her adventures to the mirthful
music of her happiness.
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